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How to Make Paint Stenciled Gift Cards

How to Make Paint Stenciled Gift Cards

With Mother’s Day around the corner I thought it would be neat to make paint stenciled gift cards.

This project was a lot of fun and where ink is the traditional color transfer for many paper crafts, I decided to use chalk-based paint.

This was really easy!

This post contains affiliate links for Dixie Belle Paint and Cutting Edge Stencils, Click here to read site terms.

Supplies for Painted Cards

  • Dixie Belle Paint here – any colors, the brighter the better and they have an amazing selection.
  • Cutting Edge Stencils here – I used their small card stencils and brushes because they’re amazing!
  • Gift Cards – Came from Hobby Lobby
  • Paint Palette, paper towels and painters’ tape will also be necessary.

First, let me say this activity was a lot of fun and more of an experiment at first because I wasn’t sure how Dixie Belle paint would transfer on paper.

As you can see it went pretty great and it’s possible, I got a little carried away with this idea.

Dixie Belle paint is chalk based and because it dries fast with just a little bit of paint on the brush everything came together really quick.

 

Cutting Edge Stencils was the perfect detail element because they have card stencils. If you’ve ever purchased their product, then you know they also include one or two with each order as a thank you.

Let’s just say, I have several of these card stencils.

I’m also excited to share, they’re now using a thick mylar which makes their stencils very durable. This is fantastic because they’re also reasonable and perfect for mix and matching designs.

So, together Dixie Belle paint and Cutting Edge Stencils were the inspiration for this card project.

Card Stencil Process

Step by Step Transfer

The transfer was fast and here’s the key to making this work without flaws – USE VERY LITTLE PAINT.

With each card I used three bright colors on each design.  The lighter options didn’t show up unless you want to use one for blending.

  • We begin with a blank card and stencil, no need for tape unless you’re trying to block off part of the stencil.
  • Then we lightly add the first color in a few areas.
  • The second color is added the same way by filling in the rest of the blank areas – a little overlapping is fine.
  • The final color is added and it goes over to blend and complete the hummingbird.

Stencil paper with many colors

Against the white that hummingbird looked like it could fly right off the paper.

If you’ve never stenciled before I have three links that you’ll want to check out before you begin.  These articles will walk you through how to stencil, which brushes to use and how to clean your stencils.

Most important tip and I say it all the time, less paint on the brush is the key to your success and practice on blank paper first.

How to Make Paint Stenciled Gift Cards

Now that my cards are finished, I have a neat little gift that’s perfect for Mother’s Day or any time of year because believe it or not some people still enjoy reaching out with a hand written note.

Inspire others to keep writing and make these creative gift cards.

Get creative and make your own painted stenciled gifts cards using cutting edge stencils. #CuttingEdgeStencils, #GiftCards, #Stencil

3 Essential Tips for Living Minimal

3 Essential Tips for a Minimal Lifestyle

Minimalism is a concept based on getting rid of the excess so life becomes about experiences rather than worldly possessions.

When we started downsizing over 2 years ago; everybody thought we were pretty crazy.  Like I was on some kind of extreme organization enterprise for getting rid of everything.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

We were really on a journey of living minimal and I didn’t even realize it because honestly, I was just trying to figure out how we were going to downsize for tiny living after years of excess.

What I realized through the process of elimination is you don’t have to live Tiny to be a minimalist.  This concept is about living with less which can be incorporated with all lifestyles.

It just happens minimalism works best for Robert and I through tiny living because space is limited.

So, during our transition, I discovered 3 essential tips that helped bring stability to our new mini lifestyle.

  1. We don’t need everything we come in contact with.
  2. Be thankful for what you already have.
  3. When shopping, choose value.

Tip 1 you don't need everything

Essential Tip #1

My first essential tip surfaced around realizing we don’t need everything we come in contact with.  I know that’s hard to believe, but it’s true.

Let’s begin by remembering the day we came into this world. We arrived as a perfect creation, all we needed was the ability to take our first breath.

Hours later we were on our way home to a room that probably took months to prepare when all we really needed was the comfort of those who love us.

We could have cared less about the color on the walls or the outfit we were going to be changed into the following day.

What I’m getting at is that we didn’t need very much to be content in those early days and I believe the same remains true as we grow and mature into adults.

Yet, as we mature into adulthood there’s this desire to gather our lives with things until we just can’t get away from them.

Let’s be realistic most of these things end up in the garage, closet or even attic. That was our home and almost every home I’ve ever walked into because that’s what we do with the excess, we store it.

When you realize you don’t need the excess to be happy, life transpires, it’s very peaceful…

Robert and I noticed really quick that we didn’t need much of anything to be happy or content. We now find comfort through experiences, spending time with one another and with people that bring value to our lives.

Tip 2 Be thankful for what you have

Essential Tip #2

My second essential tip is to be thankful for what you already have. This one was personal and it hit me right in the heart one rainy afternoon when we lived on our farm.

That desire for wanting more can be a dangerous path because it never ends.

This tendency to think we’ll be happier when we reach a certain status or acquire a larger home or new car, well guess what that isn’t real.  To many times consumption just adds another level of emptiness.

Happiness is found within, not in the house you live, the car you drive or the things you acquire.  It’s just good old you, so be thankful for who you are and what you’ve been blessed with because life is challenging enough just by itself.

We embraed Minimal living by being happy and content

Essential Tip #3

My third essential tip involves shopping for value because there will be times when you have to make a purchase.  It’s that simple!

So, “Choose quality over quantity. ”

You can apply this to many things and this has actually helped me stay out of stores because when I choose quality items they last and I shop less.

I go back to something my mom said years ago about buying shoes.  “It’s better to have one pair of good shoes than a dozen pair of cheap shoes.”

As a child I never had more than three pairs of shoes and I remember shoe shopping like it was yesterday.  I could hardly wait!

This was back when there were actual shoe stores and the sales clerk measured your foot to find the correct fitting.  They went to that mysterious back room and returned with several boxes sharing details why that shoe would be a good option.

They even helped lace or buckle the shoe to make sure it would be a comfortable fit.

I might have not liked some of those options but they were comfortable and lasted the entire school year.

To this day when I try on shoes, I always choose comfort and quality over quantity.  As a minimal adult I now have 5 pairs of shoes; making a decision which I’ll wear is a breeze and I can quickly get on with my day.

We embraced Minimal living by being happy and content

When Robert and I embraced a minimal lifestyle, it was by choice and these essential tips helped us get here.

Our home no longer fills up with excess because we realize we don’t need everything, we’re thankful for what we already have and when we shop it’s all about value.

We spend our time laughing, catching new experiences and just enjoying each other’s company. We now have time to do the things we’ve been putting off and our life has this new reborn purpose.

Life doesn’t have to be distracting, so remove those unnecessary possessions and begin to cleanse your space in a way that offers peace, joy and sense of contentment.

Who knows a minimal lifestyle is what you might have been seeking all along?

earn how 3 essential tips can put you on a path to a minimal lifestyle. #MinimalLiving, #TinyLiving

Growing Strawberries in Raised Beds

Growing Strawberries in Raised Beds

I’ve established strawberries several ways and found planting in raised beds always offered the best results.  This really simplified the growing process by offering easy maintenance for healthy plants and a successful harvest.

I’ve even had plants sprout via direct composting which is why I decided to share my tips because a reader recently mentioned they had a batch of plants sprout the same way.

Pretty neat because you never know what additional benefits will transpire when your feeding the soil.

If you weren’t as lucky to have strawberries sprout from direct composting but you still want to add them to your garden, then I suggest doing so now because plants are normally only available prior to spring or fall.

Nurseries down south should still have a few on their shelves and for those further north you shouldn’t have any problems finding new plants.

Planting Conditions for Growing Strawberries

Good Planting Conditions for Strawberries

Once you have a nice selection of plants, the next step is to establish good planting conditions so you’ll be able to enjoy a nice harvest.  Keep in mind strawberries are really easy plants to grow so don’t over think the process.

  • First make sure you plant in direct sunlight – they need at least 8 hours to produce that amazing flavor.
  • Prepare the beds prior to planting. Slight acidic soil is preferred and for those with clay, I mix sand, leaves, animal fertilizer, direct compost and even sawdust to establish a good soil base.
  • For sandy soil mix in a rich layer of compost or manure to improve conditions.
  • Strawberries don’t like to be waterlogged so make sure beds are prepped properly otherwise plants may rot during rainy periods.
  • Strawberries also need room to grow, plant 18 inches apart. Many varieties will produce runners,  these can be transplanted after they finish producing.
  • If slugs are an issue where you live then don’t cover the base with organic mulch because you’re just sending out an invitation for slugs to come eat your strawberries.

Strawberries from previous seasons

Where I Decided to Plant

I chose to plant strawberries in my blackberry beds towards the edge.  These beds are 2 ft. x 8 ft. with three vines in each one.  I transplanted my existing strawberry plants and sprouted new ones via composting over the winter.

This was easy enough by placing four plants opposite of the vines giving them plenty of room to grow.  The vines trail up which allows plenty of sunlight for the strawberries to grow out and produce fruit through the summer.

This was a good way to use that additional space; I actually tested this on our farm a few years ago and it worked really great.

Choosing a Raised bed for planting

We have four of these beds and I absolutely love them.  This is a fun design that I built based on trying different things over the years.

When covered with vines they make a neat privacy wall.

Get DIY instructions for these blackberry raised beds here.  They can be used for grapevine, raspberries and blueberries.

Strawberries can be added to any style of raised bed so get creative and have fun with it.

Transplanting Strawberries in the evening

Transplant in the Morning

In the spring I enjoy transplanting in the morning.  Temperatures are still cool and the plants have the entire day to enjoy sunshine and acclimate to their new environment.

Afternoons would also work and the process is pretty simple.

I purchased these plants via impulse because those blooms were a sign, they we’re ready to be in the ground.  This container offered 6 plants for just $1.99 and well I couldn’t pass that up either.

  • First soak the tray in water for a few minutes and loosen their root system prior to transplanting and covering with soil.
  • For this step I didn’t need to fertilize because my beds were fed last month and watering wasn’t necessary because things are still very moist as it continues to rain at least once or twice a week.

If the beds are fertilized prior to planting you won’t need to fertilize again for a couple of months when plants begin to produce flowers. This is when nutrients are pulled from the ground at a faster rate because the plant is growing to produce fruit.

Finished Project and happy strawberries ready to grow.

Health Benefits

Strawberries have some amazing health benefits, they actually hold more vitamin c than an orange if you can believe it.

  • Help lower blood pressure.
  • Maintain good cholesterol.
  • To my surprise guard against cancer.
  • They’re packed with vitamins, fiber and antioxidants.

It’s smart to grow your own fruit and vegetables if possible because when you decrease food travel time you receive the best nutritional value.

Try growing strawberries in raised beds, you’ll enjoy the ease of caring for these plants this way because it takes very little effort.

Get neat garden tips for growing strawberries in raised beds. Click here to learn more. #GardenTips, #GrowStrawberries

How to Update Planters with Rag Painting

How to Update Planters with Rag Painting

After winter I normally take a stroll around the homestead to see how things survived.  Typically, this is me inspecting plants but this year it was also taking note of things I made from the previous year.

I didn’t have to look very far because a couple items were placed on the tiny house porch and the damp, rainy weather had quite an impact on those projects.

One being this cedar planter and mine started to mildew a few months ago.

So, if you experienced a wet winter, then you might enjoy learning how to update planters with rag painting.

The Before Planter Box

This was the before, you can see gray appearing on the surface and my once favorite planter was looking pathetic.

To begin, I dumped the soil and plants into a raised bed then sanded the exterior because I noticed it looked fine on the inside.

I let it sit in the sun for a couple days and then decided it was time for a new look.

I’ve used rag painting on clay pots before, I figured, why not try it on wood?

Prepping the planter box using Dixie Belle Paint

This post contains affiliate links for Dixie Belle Paint, Click here to read site terms.

 

I started this project with a great foundation, the cedar planter was in awesome shape.

The original finish was a dry brush technique with stenciling and it appeared I needed to be bold to cover those details.

I used Dixie Belle Paint and went with a green theme because it fits with our natural environment.  There’s something about country living that directs me to colors that complement nature.

With Spring in the air shades of green seemed like the perfect choice.

For this project I just used paint and a few other things to bring it all together and remember when you shop online with Dixie Belle Paint shipping is only $10 on orders $50 or more.

Supplies and Paint Colors

  • Dixie Belle Paint Colors – Cotton, Collard Greens, Evergreen, Lemonade, and Kudzu
  • Dixie Belle Chip Brush
  • Five small rags and sand paper
  • Jar of water for clean up
  • Dixie Belle Clear Wax

You’ve all heard me talk about this awesome paint, it’s a chalk based paint which means it dries fast.  It was perfect for this project because I didn’t have to wait for each application to dry for periods of time which really sped up the creative process.  Dixie Belle

Once I had the box sanded and dry the first step is to apply a white base coat.  I used Cotton on the exterior of the entire planter and also covered the interior edges.

It was a gracious thick coat so I let it dry outside for an hour before moving on.

Adding layers of color

Rag Painting Technique

Rag painting is really easy and it’s actually pretty relaxing so I do highly recommend this technique.

Begin a project like this with at least four colors and start with the darkest first.  With this planter that first color would be collard greens.

We’re not covering the entire surface, we’re just dipping the rag into the paint and graciously covering leaving plenty of white still showing.

Cover the entire planter and then go to the next color which for me was evergreen.  This color is also pretty dark but it has a nice lift to tone down the collard greens.

Adding the colors to complete the finish planter

We continue with the third color by taking the lightest, lemonade.  This is such a neat color and sort of blends those two previous choices together.

Again, we’re covering the entire planter so just have fun with it and notice the white is still visible.

The final color is kudzu and this is where everything really comes together.  I just love that color too because it’s light but has enough pop to brighten up the planter and pull everything together.

Finish planter with a little wax and plan

When the planter is finish you can just toss those rags i the garbage and let the planter sit in the sun for about an hour.  It will feel dry but just let it rest if you plan to add a protective coat.

I used Dixie Belle Clear wax by brushing one layer and letting it sit for a few minutes.  Then buff with a clean rag and you’re done.

Well you’re almost done, now you have to replant and sit or hang in a location where you can enjoy.

Rag painting is a lot of fun and it’s a great way to brighten up planters that look a little weathered from previous seasons.  Are you ready to give this technique a try?

If you like this planter box you can get building instructions right here. 

Updating planters is a great way to give your containers a new look on life. Get these fun tips for rag painting planters by clicking here. #PaintingPlanters, #GardenPlanters

How to Choose a Garden that Suits you

Creating a Garden Space that suits you

Whether you’re a new or seasoned gardener, choosing an oasis that suits your style is no easy task. It’s probably easier for new gardeners because you haven’t begun and starting from scratch is always going to be less difficult.

New gardeners are excited with an endless stream of ideas and many seasoned gardeners also have neat ideas but they’re trying to figure out how to change or improve what they’ve already begun.

So, where do you even begin?

Specific details like garden size, hours of sunlight, soil type, and what to plant cannot be overlooked at any stage of the process.

But I find that too often garden style is overlooked.  The focus seems to be more of a dive in approach to grow food and live happily ever after.

I wish it was that easy but if you want a space that suits your style it’s going to take more thought.

Begin by finding the style of landscape you prefer.  This step will put you on a path to developing a garden that you adore and want to maintain.

This was one side of Grandma’s front yard rockery. In the spring it had tulips mixed throughout in a variety of colors. The opposite side of her yard was almost identical; these areas were a small part of her oasis and that’s her in the corner probably edging the grass with hand clippers.  What a gem…

Finding my Garden Style was a Journey

For me finding my style was a journey some of which I’ve shared in the early days of my blog.

After years of working in my grandma’s garden I found that a neat and tidy space really spoke to me.

I love clean lines, focal points and simplicity.

Grandma did a lot with her yard but I wouldn’t call it simple, it did have a clean presentation and that got my attention.

Her garden was unique and useful but it was also high maintenance.  We worked around her yard from one corner to the other and when those corners met, it was time to do it all over again.

I remember asking her, “When do we take a break?”  her response was always short, “you can rest in the winter.”

Her place was like a park including everything from fruit trees, grape vines, roses, herbs, bulbs, blooming shrubs and even a vegetable garden.

It was a lot and it was the one place I really enjoyed spending time because it was beautiful and peaceful.

Our time together was priceless and you'll find me referencing her wisdom often.

It Took me Years to Achieve What I Wanted

It took me years later, several moves and different styles of gardening to achieve what I really wanted.

My desire left me with an idea that welcomed clean lines and easy to maintain.

When I decided to decrease the size of my raised beds those clean lines and simplistic details surfaced right away.

My garden became more than a place for plants to grow, it was a neat place to relax and enjoy.

A garden should really compliment your environment. Cool climate gardeners will choose very differently over those living in hot climates.  I also believe that someone living in the suburbs will have a very different take than someone living in the countryside.

Materials and style will be different because a space that compliments your environment will become more of a sanctuary if designed correctly to meet your likes and lifestyle.

I’m thankful for my gardening journey because it brought me on the path, I’m at today. So, to help you get where you want to be, begin with figuring out what you like.

Gardening with clean lines and simplicity

Finding What you Like

Whether you’re starting a new garden or maybe even shrinking your existing one sometimes the best things to do is visit community gardens or go see what others are doing!

Take a notebook on these outings and use it as a resource for future planning.

By taking the time to uncover new ideas you’ll find what you like and dislike right away and don’t be afraid to ask questions.

I don’t recommend browsing through magazines because many times those gardens are staged and they’re not practical.

Pinterest can be a neat place for ideas and I’d like to refer you to my Pinterest boards.

I have many garden boards so I’ll include my favorites and the last two are a mix of neat ideas that are sometimes fun to incorporate in a garden:

 

Creating a Garden Space that suits you

Enhance Your Home

Remember the garden should enhance your home, not take it over.  When we decided to live Tiny, I wasn’t sure how we were going to achieve an enhanced garden.  I had my style but putting it together was a whole other story.

It was really difficult because our homestead at Quail Grove is really more of an example property for this development.  In the beginning I spread everything out and it didn’t work.

I honestly couldn’t stand the layout then finally last year I decided to create two planting spaces right off the Tiny House.

It was a lot of work to move everything but so worth the effort. Everything right now is easier to maintain and it just feels like home for the time being.

We stayed with the smaller raised beds that I talk about in my book Startle Garden and placed them so they didn’t crowd walk space.   They’re presented in focal points instead of rows which makes them more interesting.

I also decided to plant berries in one area and flowers and vegetables together in front of the house.  This offers an inviting space when you walk through the gate and extends a hand in creativity.

It’s welcoming and fits perfectly in the country with the natural wood.

Robert and I have a nice place to sit and relax after working all day.

So, choose a style based on your likes not what others are telling you to do.

But make sure whatever you decide it works with your environment, suits your style and it’s easy to maintain.   With those three details you can’t go wrong creating the look of your garden oasis.

 

Get tips and ideas for how to choose a garden style that suits you and environment no matter where you live. #Gardening, #GardenStyle, #GardenTips

Make Stenciled Market Bags

Make your own Stenciled Market Bags

We’re making stenciled canvas bags that can be used for many things in addition to market shopping.  This is a great rainy day project and we’ve had several lately.

I must admit it’s taken me awhile to embrace “reusable shopping bags.” I tried a few years back but remembering to put them back in the car slipped my mind every time we went shopping.

So earlier this year, Robert and I decided to get healthier; that led us to change our grocery shopping routine to find better food choices.  With that move it made sense to get some heavy-duty canvas bags and try again.

So, that’s just what I did beginning with a variety of stencils, paint and brushes.  Then I spent an afternoon creating these fun market bags and it was a blast.

Stenciling canvas Bag Supplies

This post contains affiliate links for Dixie Belle Paint and Cutting Edge Stencils, Click here to read site terms.

Market Bag Project Supplies

Like all my painted projects, we start with Dixie Belle Paint and choosing which colors wasn’t easy.  I went with bright options because they show up better on canvas than light colors.

The bags came from Hobby Lobby, they’re extremely heavy duty and have side pockets which is a nice benefit.  Let me add, I shopped forever to find these bags and found to get quality in store shopping was a good choice.  Sometimes you just have to touch a product to know it will work.

Next time they’re on sale, I may have to pick up another because stenciling on fabric is a lot of fun.

  • Dixie Belle Paint colors: Coffee Bean, Bunker Hill Blue, Plum Crazy and Mermaid Tail, Shop Here
  • Cutting Edge Stencils: wheat, letters, bird, flower and farm word, Shop Here
  • Studio R12 Stencil: Dream like anything’s possible, and chickens came from Etsy
  • Hobby Lobby: canvas bags
  • Painters Tape, Stencil Brushes and a paint pallet, I use scrap wood.

 

Studior R12 Stencil Project

How to Apply Stencil and Seal surface.

Applying a stencil transfer on fabric is really a breeze and it goes pretty fast using the same technique as stenciling on wood.  You just have to remember to slow down because if an error occurs there really is no fixing it.

First you want to figure out your design and then apply the transfer one step at a time using my how to stencil tips here.

Dixie Belle paint doesn’t wash out of fabric, I found this out the hard way.  Over time it will fade if you wash often so I recommend hand washing bags in cold water and let air dry.

You can also set the design to keep from fading by using a press or heat gun.

The other option is to place a towel over the bag when the paint is dry and apply a hot iron onto the surface, this will take about 5 or 10 minutes.

Both sides of recycled bags and Stencil Designs

These market bags are a lot of fun to make and a neat way to be creative in an afternoon.  I’ll be using mine for grocery and farmer’s market shopping, but they would also be amazing for just about anything else you need help transporting.

Especially if you’re someone who’s crafty with yarn.  They even make a great book or gym tote.

Personalize and make it your own because who doesn’t need a reusable handy market bag?

 

Go to market with your own canvas designer bag. Reuse stenciled markets that are easy to make and washable. #MarketBags, #StencilCraft, #Totebags

Seed Starting Basics

Seed Starter Basics

Starting seeds is a great way to get a head start with Spring gardening.  I’ve actually been putting this off because our temperatures and weather have been so unpredictable.

I think we’re pretty safe at the moment and since I purchased seeds back in December it’s past time to get started because our last freeze date is scheduled for March 31.

To find the last freeze date for your planting zone check the Farmer’s Almanac and click weather.   This link can also be found in our Subscriber’s library.  To gain access sign up for our newsletter here.

There are so many ways to start seeds and the set ups are endless.  If you have a greenhouse, I have to say I’m a bit jealous because that would be the ideal environment for establishing seeds prior to Spring.

Beginning with our Seed Starter Boxes

Seed Starter Boxes

This year I’ll be using the seed starter boxes, they keep the mess outdoors which is grand when you live Tiny.  These boxes allow me to cover during the germination process and offer natural sunlight when temperatures surprise us.

I originally used these for fall planting and they worked great, it was easy to cover my lettuce when temperatures dropped by placing the lid on top.

But fall is now in the past and it’s time to embrace yet a new season of planting.

Each box is filled with soil, natural debris and mulch which work as insulation.  Once these starters are ready to transplant, I can also use these boxes for direct planting because they’re already prepped.

This is one of our dual-purpose products and simple tips that allow me to glide through the gardening season.

Benefits of Starting your Own Seeds

Benefits of Starting Seeds

By starting your own seeds, you can actually decrease startup expenses because buying individual plants can add up fast, especially if you have a big garden.

You also have the opportunity to start specialty plants that are often overlooked at traditional nurseries.  Most nurseries purchase plants off the same truck so if you want something unique it’s important to find a nursery that starts their own inventory on sight.

Or just buy seeds and do it yourself because it’s actually a pretty relaxing activity and a good way to spend an afternoon. If you still haven’t purchased seeds, read new garden seeds here. 

Starting seeds at home is just really an affordable way to begin a garden.

When To Start Seeds

When to Start Seeds

For annuals begin seeds four to six weeks prior to Spring.  Like I mentioned earlier I’m off to a slow start this year and that’s because of our weather.

Annuals will germinate fast, most between 6- 10 days and within two weeks don’t be surprised how fast they begin producing new growth.

Perennials are slower to germinate and will take that full 10 days sometimes longer depending on the variety of seed.  These plants are hardier and fun to incorporate because once established you can enjoy them every year.

Both annuals and perennials can be sowed no more than 12 weeks before the last freeze.

What to use for Starting Seeds

What to use for Starting Seeds?

In the past I’ve used a variety of materials and normally it all comes down to what I have available. This year I decided to keep things really simple and use peat pods with recycled OUI glass jars.  I just love that yogurt!

I’ve also incorporated some liners that will help keep the pods organized and stay moist.

If you want a few more ideas I’ve added some things from the past, pick and choose or get traditional seed starting trays online or in store.

If you decide to reuse materials from previous seasons make sure to wash them first in hot soapy water to remove any bacteria. I recommend using natural cleaners because they won’t be harmful to your health.

What kind of Soil should you use?

Well, as I mentioned I’m using peat pods this year, mainly yes because it’s simple.  Our ground is incredibly wet and I just didn’t want to buy soil when we already have an abundance.

If you need to purchase soil look for a high quality, organic seed starter soil.  These mixes will contain quality ingredients necessary to help germinate seeds fast.

Seed Starter Basics

If you’re wondering where is the best place to store these starters that’s a great question. Especially if you don’t have a greenhouse or seed starter boxes.

I suggest choosing an area near a window so they can get natural light.

Some folks make stands that incorporate lighting, we did this when we grew luffa on our farm.  It was awesome but my large farming days are over so I like to keep things simple now days.

The key is to find a place in your home where they won’t get disturbed from pets or small children and yet still receive a natural light source.

Focusing on the Positive like these new plants are as they sprout for spring.

Now if you want to just skip starting seeds indoors all together then direct seed would be your next game plan.  Read my Direct Seed tips here, I’ll warn you this is my favorite way to plant because it’s such a breeze.

Seed Starting is just a fun activity no matter how you begin and a reminder that good things are beginning to grow.

 

Learn the basics of sowing seeds indoors, from choosing containers, when to start seeds and where to store during germination. #SeedStarterbasics, #GardenTips

 

The Lack of Quail Grove Progress

Lack of Progress at Quail Grove

As I sit and write it’s a low 23 degrees in March, this winter has been the most bizarre I’ve ever experienced in North Texas.

We have moss growing on trees due to ongoing rainfall since September.  Robert says we have our very own tropical rain forest forming which is what it will feel like when temperatures rise.

Nearby fields and pastures are a muddy mess and the county roads are just a bad.

The weather has been unreal and has had a huge impact on the lack of progress at Quail Grove.  It will be questionable if we can get that first property ready by spring or even plant our garden if things don’t begin to dry soon.

Chicken Coop project finished

We don’t like to admit it but the lack of progress has been discouraging because until the ground dries, we’re in a position of sit and wait.

We’re not really sit and wait kind of people so, we’ve taken a few slow steps forward by finishing projects that include the chicken run, adding more raised beds and clearing out brush. 

We’ve even worked on the Tiny House by finishing the office and loft. Due to lack of excitement things stopped there because winter lasted longer than we expected and we’re pretty comfy in the RV.

Robert calls it our Love bubble which is funny and just really means he’s super content and so am I.

Tiny living has been a blessing and it’s made us both realize that when we finally finish Quail Grove and move to our own property, we’ll continue living this way.

We’ve discovered we just don’t need much to live a happy life.  Read about our first year of Tiny Living here.

The Lack of tiny House Progress

We’ve also discovered during this slow period that sometimes a change in scenery is good, so we’ve been scoping additional land opportunities.

I think what I’ve observed most about these outings is there’s a lot of weak areas that need cleaning up.

I’m amazed at the clutter that surfaces, amazed because I can’t imagine being surrounded by so much stuff.  If clutter is something you struggle with you may enjoy reading my ultimate downsize

Best advice I can give you is, let it go because stuff, is holding you back.

You may also like how to downsize for tiny Living. These steps are easy to implement even if you don’t plan on living tiny.

Country Road Emptying into the creek

I guess you could say with the lack of progress it’s made us more aware of our surroundings.  My grandmother once said, how people care for their home is an expression of how they view themselves.

I’m not sure if this is true, but a lot of times I do see the similarities. I know for myself the way I do things is very organized which means I like structure.

The simplicity that follows that structure helps me stay positive and be more productive.

Robert on the other hand functions very well in any environment, he’s said on many occasions he loves our lifestyle but more than anything wishes it would stop raining so we can move forward.

I’m in complete agreement with that because we have work to finish and until things dry out, we wait.

One of those tasks is to dig out the creek because the County Road is washing out, gifting us with tones of fill dirt and gravel.  Every time it rains it does set us back and we get upwards of a $1,000 worth of free dirt and gravel flowing downstream off the road.

More Clearing

Besides digging out the creek we have the driveway, skirting, water well and fence to install and then that first property will be ready to sell.

That probably sounds like a lot of work, but believe me it’s not. It’s just a couple weeks’ worth of labor but the ground needs to be dry.

So even though we currently have a lack of progress due to crazy weather, we know this has all been part of God’s plan.  He’s opened our eyes to our surroundings and every step of the way he’s blessed this journey.

It’s been amazing and I’m reminded when obstacles cross our path we need to focus on the positive solutions so that when it comes time to move forward, we’re ready and we can serve with a full heart.

Focusing on the Positive like these new plants are as they sprout for spring.

Rotational Grazing with Dexter Cows

I’ve realized for most of my life I’m a bit of a free spirit.  This is probably a good thing because I don’t get caught up in what others are doing, I go through life embracing experiences that inspire.

This takes me back to our farm when we added Dexter Cows because this step forward was not inspired.

Robert had to convince me this was going to be a good thing and it wasn’t until they arrived; watching them trot through our fields that I knew we made the right decision.

A new step forward brings me to our newest product line, Ad Free Magazine articles.  This has been in the works for a while, mostly bouncing through my head during the years I was freelance writing.

Freelancing was amazing, pushing me out of my comfort zone, much like deciding to raise Dexter Cows.

Both experiences allowed me to learn and grow which was fantastic because shouldn’t we all be seeking avenues that help us grow?

So, I  decided to embrace my free spirit by offering high-quality magazine articles at a faster rate. Topics will be focused on gardening and homesteading because I believe there is a simplified way of doing things that is often overlooked.

Belle and Red eating hay over the winter.

Belle and Red enjoying hay over the winter while the fields repaired from severe drought. Hay rolls were $80 – $90 dollars each and they were coming from out of state.

New Magazine Articles Begin

We begin this journey by introducing Rotational grazing with Dexter cows.

When we moved to our farm the first few years included a lot of research and reading.  We were originally city/suburb folk who knew very little about raising animals for self reliance or profit.

Our entire family participated and each of us were assigned an area of interest. I was planted in the garden, Robert had field prep, fencing and cows and the kids covered chickens and rabbits.

We worked together to help one another and it was a story of its own. The first big project we took on happen to be Robert’s, this included implementing rotational grazing, adding a breeding pair of Dexter cows and a llama.

Red During the Drought

Red our bull loved his hay during the droughts, not only was it tasty it was also pretty comfy…

Dexter Cow Experience

It was an amazing four-year journey with those cows where many lessons came front and center.  It was that time of research that led us to Deter’s and with no regrets our family was thankful.

I may have been the most thankful when we finally decided to be done with the cows. Don’t get me wrong it was amazing and I would do it again in a heartbeat.

But after 2 droughts one worse than the other I was tired and realized that sometimes you have to know when to let go so you can reach new goals.

Dexter Cows Enjoying Grass

Molly and Red – they were quite a pair. She birthed 2 calves beautifully and was a very loving animal, Red had his moments…

Raising Dexter Cows Article

Those cows were something else and when I look back, I’m reminded of this surprising aroma, the sweet scent of a new born calf.

There’s nothing else quite like it, so clean and defined like a fresh bar of sweet soap.

To learn more about this awesome cattle breed which is great for small and large acreage check out that article here.

Raising Dexter Cows

Rotational Grazing Article

One of things that I mention in the Dexter cow article is rotational grazing.  Which is in my opinion the healthiest and best way to raise livestock.  After using this system on our farm, I was convinced, we continued with rotation when the sheep arrived after the cows moved on.

This system was a game changer towards reaching our goals with small acreage.  Sometimes I wish I would have listened to Robert and agreed to go with even smaller paddocks.

I really enjoyed writing this article because rotational grazing is just good old common sense put into action. Our focus was always based on what’s best for the land and animals; the results were sweet!

If rotational grazing is something, you’re thinking about this is one article you won’t want to pass.  Whether you have one acre or 40 plus acres, this system works wonders.  Get it here.

Rotational Grazing at work

The sheep loved rotational grazing and so did the land…

Rotational Grazing with Dexter cows was a great experience and now you can discover more on that topic in our Ad free magazine articles.  It my hope you find value in this new product addition, where you’ll also find a couple new garden related articles as well.

New articles will be published every month, this is a neat way to learn more and create your very own Garden Up Green library.

 

If you might be seeking to homestead but not sure where to begin discover the benefits of rotational grazing with smaller livestock, Dexter Cows. #Homestead, #RotationalGrazing, #Dextercows

Clearing Land Fast with EZKut Tools

Clearing Land with Ezkut tools

A few years ago, when I was leading workshops for Texas Home and Garden, I was introduced to EZKut hand clippers.

I was given the opportunity to test a pair on an actual branch which left me impressed. With little effort that cut was fast, so the clippers came home with me.

The best part was they fit my hand perfectly without slipping.

Several years later I still have that same pair of clippers and when we started clearing at Quail Grove they became a daily companion.

Needless to say, my EZKut clippers have seen better days, but they still work great and allow me to clear a space quickly.

What our land looked like before clearing

A lot of Clearing

Initially there was a lot of clearing that needed our attention.  There’s still a lot to accomplish and this is how thick the brush looked when we began.

This is actually on the other side of our fence line but our field was just as thick in the beginning.  We basically started clearing at the side of the road and worked our way in.

A lot of that brush was cut with my EZKut hand clippers.  We also used machetes and a chain saw but it was those clippers that allowed us to clear fast and make that first walk path to an actual open space.

To see some of those early clearing events click here:

ExKut Tools

This post contains affiliate links for EZKUT  Tools, Click here to read site terms.

My EZKUT Tools

It wasn’t until recently that I decided it was time for a new clearing tool.  Something that could help take down small stumps and trees.

I’ve been removing underbrush on the property we live on so Robert can come through with a chain saw and drop trees at a faster pace.

New tool shopping led me back to EZKut because I had this feeling, they would have what I was seeking.  After clicking around their website, I was right and discovered the “Wow Saw” and placed my order immediately.

When it arrived, I was shocked how light it was then headed to the field to give it a try.

The blade was also impressive and within 15 minutes I cut down 4 small stumps and 3 trees.  My response at that moment, you guessed it “WOW!”

So, I had Robert video so you could see these tools in action.

 

 

I have great news – if you’re interested in trying these tools EZKut has offered my readers an online discount.

Go to EZKUT Tools here and use this promo code GardenUp at checkout.

clearing land

Land Transforming

It’s exciting to see this area slowly transform into workable land. Right now, it’s just a fun place to clean up and continue burning the debris.

Eventually this will be green for raising small livestock like a few sheep or goats.  This could even be a neat space for an orchard.

Clearing land is a matter of taking one area and working your way through the cutting process one branch and tree at a time.  I actually really enjoy this activity because it’s peaceful and offers the opportunity to achieve some homestead goals.

After clearing out the brush

Here’s a larger view where I’ve been working and it’s coming along pretty good.  Robert will have no problem dropping trees once things dry up.

Things I’ve learned about clearing land, it takes time and a good work ethic goes a long way.  Cutting limbs and trees is also faster when they’re dry.  It rained the day prior so I won’t be clearing again for another week.

But you can see we’re making progress. it’s slow due to the weather but eventually it will get done.  We’re still excited about this Tiny Homestead Community, we just wish it would stop raining so we could get that first property finished.

If you’re looking to clear land fast, I highly recommend checking out those EZKut tools – the “Lopper” is next on my list to purchase, I can hardly wait to try it out.

 

Clearing land faster with Ezkut tools was a game changer. These amazing tools surprised us, click to see the progress we've made in a short period of time. #ClearingLand, #OutdoorTools, #EzKutTools

Easy Apply Gel Stain on Wood Table

Garden Table Finished with Gel Stain

Earlier this month on Instagram I shared a new table project.  This was a fun build, very simple for Robert and I so we can sit outside and enjoy meals together.

I’m finding it’s never too early to prepare for those warmer seasons and when spring finally gets here, I’m going to be ready.

The table sits in the garden near the Tiny House which is my favorite place because it’s full of inspiration. Robert happens to like this area too, he says my style for simplicity really shines and he likes the clean lines.

I wanted to share the staining process because this with a few steps this table came to life.

This post contains affiliate links for Dixie Belle Paint, Click here to read site terms.

Choosing Stain and Supplies

Choosing stain was the easy part because I went with “No Pain Gel Stain” From Dixie Belle.  This is an oil-based stain and I want you to notice the thickness on the brush.

The stain was heavy like gel which means there was s no running. Another thing I liked was this stain offers amazing coverage with very little applied.

I was able to cover this entire table with about half of that 8 oz. container.  Pretty Sweet!

Supplies for this project came from Dixie Belle Paint and can be purchased here.

  • No Pain Gel Stain – Color Maple
  • Mini Synthetic Brush – Amazing Brushes!
  • Rag – well that came from home.

Dixie Belle

Applying Stain

First things firsts, if your stain project has rough areas make sure to sand first and brush off the dust afterwards.

Applying the stain on a smooth surface is almost effortless and I finished in under an hour.  This was a one coat application beginning with brushing the stain onto the wood.

Notice it’s really dark when first applied, this is because the next step is to rub in the stain using a rag into the wood.  That’s when the grain of the wood surfaces and you have a nice natural appearance left behind.

Beautiful Wood Grain

There’s just something beautiful about new wood freshly covered in natural stain. I love that look and I’m thinking we’ll be doing wood counter tops in our Tiny House kitchen.

When finished with quality product, pine wood has a great way of surfacing natural beauty.

It took me about an hour to stain and building the table was about another hour.  So, in the period of two hours I was able to make a unique table for the garden area.

Simplicity – I just can’t get enough of absolute simplicity…

Finished Garden Table

A table for two where we can enjoy each other’s company, it’s perfect for us.  We are almost ready for Spring!

Think about trying Dixie Belle’s gel stain it’s fantastic and so easy to use.

They also offer Voo Doo Gel stain which is water based, this is also very easy to use and I recommend adding a clear coat or a wax finish especially if your piece is for outdoors.

 

Learn how easy it is to apply Dixie Belle Gel Stain to finish an outdoor table project for the garden. #OutdoorTable, #GelStain

Searching For Spring Garden Inspiration

Seeking Spring in the Mix of winter

In the mix of this weird winter and rainfall that’s been continuous since September, it was time to get out of town and search for Spring.

Many folks seek spring inspiration by going to home and garden shows this time of year but I’m not much for crowds anymore.  Then somewhere in my memory log I remember years ago visiting a fantastic nursery named Calloways. 

They offer 21 locations in Texas and if you’ve never been well, I hope a peak into one of their Fort Worth nurseries may spark your interest.

If you’re not in Texas that’s okay because I bet there’s a place where you live that is just as spectacular and I highly recommend seeking that little dose of Spring inspiration.

Pretty kalancho and mini carnations

From the moment I walked through the door I knew my decision to visit was grand.

I was first greeted with a fun display of cyclamen and the sound of water. Then I came across this neat spread of mini carnations and kalanchoe, that combination of bright orange and shades of pink was breath taking.

For whatever reason I ended up bringing home one of those mini carnations because it was just so cute.  I’m not even a fan of carnations but for whatever reason these were speaking to me.

Beautiful Gerbera Daisy

There was this amazing batch of gerbera daisies, a favorite flower that offers so much wonderful color.

The indoor nursery was loaded with blooming plants and these daisies reminded me they may be a neat option in terracotta planters I want to establish this year.

The spicy scent of stock also caught my attention, I just wish it lasted longer down south because I might have picked up a few of those as well. Maybe later when our temperatures decide to settle.

Taking pictures as I walked around was the best ever and they didn’t even mind.  Which was so nice because I’ve been seeking an opportunity to take random flower photos.

Most people zoom to the Dallas Arboretum for flower photo shoots but again I’m not big on crowds and because we’re in the off season Calloway’s was peaceful and needless to say full of inspiration.

Amazing colors of Purple and Pink

About halfway through the outing I started to think about my book Startle Garden and how these tables of colorful plants resemble what energized that book.  I love color because it adds detail to the gardening experience.

These plants combined with the Startle Garden system you just can’t go wrong.

But when I came across the color combo of vibrant purple and pink my heart melted.  I love these bright tones together and back when I was a floral designer the majority of my arrangements consisted of this combination using cut flowers of all varieties.

Come to think of it our wedding flowers were also in this color pattern.  If you could just see these two colors in real life your heart would melt too.

Orchids and Merchandise galore at Calloways nursery

Aside from their amazing indoor and outdoor areas Calloway’s Nursery also offers several fantastic product lines.  They have everything to occupy your gardening needs and wants, including seeds.

Their orchid display was also very tempting but I’ve decided to wait until later because I need to learn more about caring for those wonderful plants prior to diving in.

Orchids are one plant that I’ve always wanted to incorporate indoors but put off because I was always busy with something else.  Which is why I love our new simplified lifestyle because now I have more time for some of those things.

Stargazer lilies at Calloways nursery

It was this row of Stargazers that really stopped me in my tracks, realizing that not only did I find my spring inspiration I also uncovered a glimpse into summer.

This beauty has always been my favorite, Robert knows it because it was the center of our wedding flowers and whenever he spots then, he pulls my attention in that direction and normally buys me a bundle.

If the winter weather is getting to you then I’d like to encourage you to get a change of scenery where ever you live and search for a little bit of spring garden happiness.

But please skip the big box store’s find a place that gets it right and actually cares about what they have to offer.  This little trip to Calloway’s Nursery was just what I needed to lift my spirits.  Their stores are top notch!

 

When Winter drags on the search for spring garden inspiration is necessary. Get these tips for cruising through winter when spring is on the brain. #Gardentips, #SpringInspiration

Creating a Planting Space

Finished Garden Box

Creating a planting space sometimes involves moving a few pieces of outdoor furniture then finding something that possibly needs an update.

That’s what I did last week when the clouds covered but the temperatures still felt pretty great.

Do you remember that funky farmhouse table with buffalo check from last September?  Well, I moved it near the creek to use as a potting table because it offered a little more space than what I was currently using.

That idea triggered a moment of renew for my tired looking garden box.

Updating a Garden Box

Choosing Furniture Pieces

If you’re thinking about creating an outdoor planting space choose an area not too far from your garden. Then see if you already have pieces of furniture you can use to establish this location even if it means they may need a little sprucing up.

Best advice is to keep it simple and if garden supplies are overflowing then maybe it’s time to downsize some of those things.

It might surprise you but I don’t really use a lot of garden supplies.  I have this outdoor box handy where things can be stored because I don’t like clutter.

It appears I’m just as simplistic outdoors as we are in the home.

I also don’t believe you need a lot of stuff to garden.  So, this box holds a few recycled pots, garden tools, terracotta pots, bag of potting soil and some jars.

It was looking pretty sad which made me think updating it to match the table would be a neat idea. Both pieces sort of fit together and also help keep my clutter to a minimum.

To update I started with paint from Dixie Belle using colors – Coffee Bean and Farmhouse Green.

Painting and Stenciling

This post contains affiliate links for Dixie Belle Paint, Click here to read site terms.

Updating with Paint

The base of the box was painted with coffee bean first and it covered perfectly using those awesome chip brushes.  If you haven’t had a chance to try Dixie Belle’s brushes you must.

The paint strokes onto the wood perfectly without leaving bristles behind, which makes me happy!

I applied one thick coat of the coffee bean before moving onto farmhouse green that was used for trim and stenciling.

That is such a fun color and it really brightens up a space in a subtle way.

Stenciling Hydrangea stencil

More Paint and Stencils

Once the word stencils were added I used Dixie Belles neat Hydrangea stencil next.  I love this one because it’s light and pretty.

I’ve used this stencil a couple times and I kept things simple by transferring the entire design with farmhouse green, then added the color, plum crazy on a few blossoms to resemble an actual hydrangea flower.

Get my stencil tips here and my how to clean stencils right here.

Finished Garden Box

This update was quick, easy and a fun way to pull this planting area together.  Once completely dry I covered the entire box with a clear coat to protect from the weather.

Material Recap

  • Dixie Belle Paint Colors – Farmhouse Green, Coffee Bean and Plum Crazy
  • Dixie Belle Clear Coat
  • Dixie Belle Chip Brush
  • Dixie Belle Hydrangea stencil
  • Word Stencil came from Studio R12 on Etsy

All Dixie Belle products and stencil can be purchased here.


Dixie Belle

Planting Space Completed

A Finished Planting Space

A finished planting space means I’m just about ready to start seeds for spring.  I’ll keep my fingers crossed because I did notice cooler temperatures and rain is headed our way.

If the weather is making you antsy then perhaps it’s time to create an area where you can plant because every gardener should have a fun place for transplanting or starting seeds.

 

Get tips for creating a space near the garden for a planting table. Jazz up furniture you may already have to make it unique and a fun place to plant. #GardenSpace, #PlantingTable

No Dig Garden Using Raised Beds

There’s this idea that no dig gardening with raised beds is an easier system.  When it comes to maintenance, I would absolutely agree it’s less difficult.

However, setting things up from scratch is where the real work happens.

Bottom line there is no easy way to begin a garden but you can do things in a manner that makes it less difficult as time goes on; this begins with how your space is set up.

Grandma's Shovel

So, what is no dig gardening anyways?  This method is exactly as stated, there’s no traditional digging or tilling like in field gardens.

On our farm the first few years we had an open plot garden that was tilled prior to planting, tilled to remove weeds and tilled again after harvest. We chose this route because we were planting large crops to sell.

It was difficult to maintain and keeping up with the weeds was non-stop.  Basically, it was a lot of work but when it was in full growing capacity it was impressive.

The tilling was never ending and I knew if gardening was going to be in my future for a long time it had to look different.  I wanted to enjoy this activity without being concerned with traditional methods of hard labor each season.

I also remember when my grandma closed off her vegetable garden because it became to much work.  It was a sad time and even though she continued to incorporate her favorite veggies in flower beds it just wasn’t the same.

Nor was she and eventually family encouraged her to hang up her garden shovel and that’s when a piece of her just withered away.  I still have that shovel and it’s a reminder that nobody will ever, I mean ever take my garden shovel away.

So, I decided to make a change early on beginning with this idea of no digging through raised beds.

Keep in mind raised beds are not the only way to incorporate a no dig garden.  You can create what I call mound rows, these rows are lined with cardboard, natural materials and soil.  They stand alone or can be lined with tree trunks.

I personally didn’t like this look because it came across messy.

Raised beds offered a little organization and when I decided on a style that worked full term, everything changed.

 

What I love most about no dig is that my workload really did decrease and I never dread planting season because the beds are always ready to go.

However I do things a little different than others in that I still dig in my direct compost  year round.  I also don’t lay cardboard down as my liner.  Instead I use debris like sticks, leaves or hay.

The reason for this is because I build my beds higher and smaller than most.   This little transition was a game changer because this also decreased the amount of effort placed on my back.  I’m telling you first hand; 2 x 4 and taller raised beds are amazing!

Even better all this information can be found in my book Startle Garden.  This book will walk you through the entire process of how I garden and how this system allows me to grow my best garden ever.

No Kidding!  I wouldn’t say it if it wasn’t true.

 

Setting Up a No Dig Raised Bed

Now I know what you’re thinking, it takes a lot of ingredients and effort to fill those beds.  Yes, it does take a lot to fill them but you don’t have to do it all at once.

I’m currently establishing two new beds that I started back in December.  I’m a little behind schedule but they’re coming along and should be ready for my late spring planting in April.

I like to start new beds in the Fall or Winter giving me several months to get them prepped and settled for Spring.

If it’s too cold outside to work during the cooler months then build beds indoors and when you get a cold break move the beds outside where you want them to go. Then begin filling with winter debris cleanup, soil, direct compost and do so in layers.

By working a little at a time you’ll have a couple beds ready before you know it.

If you have kids or grand kids hanging around get them involved and honestly don’t ask for their help just tell them to do it. Be their mentor through the process so they can learn how to establish a garden.

This is how I learned, my grandma put me to work and we did the same with our kids on our farm.

No dig gardening is a matter of letting nature work for you.  It’s a beautiful thing, in nature the soil doesn’t need to be manually cultivated.  I’ve seen proof of this on our own land as we’ve been clearing.  You can’t believe the underbrush I’ve removed recently.

So, when I’m sharing my outings that involve picking up debris, like leaves, twigs and branches it’s not because I don’t have anything else better to do it’s because all these deposits eventually decompose into amazing soil.

In a forest, organic matter in the form of fallen leaves, twigs and branches, even annual plants at the end of their cycle and other plants at the end of their lives, are all deposited on the forest ground.  When they decompose, they turn the soil into a rich loam or as most of us call soil.

Chickens in No Dig Garden

What holds true in Nature also holds true in the garden.

No dig gardening with raised beds will be easier in the long run, so if you’re looking to decrease your workload then this is the system for you.

Startle Garden will walk you through the entire set up from choosing where to place your garden all the way to harvesting.  Get it here.

Get tips for no dig gardening using raised beds. Increase your efforts and grow an amazing garden with less effort. Learn More here. #NoDigGarden, #GardenTips

Updating Grandma’s Rose Trunk

Updating Grandma's Rose Chest

I’m pretty sure most of us here have received a family treasure at one time?

One of mine was this rose trunk, my grandma had a set of three in different sizes and I was fortunate to receive one years ago after she passed.

As a child I use to sit in her green chair and look at these boxes wondering what was inside each one, but never dared to open.

So, instead I found myself intrigued with the detail that was carved into each trunk.  The style was very meticulous realizing early on that creating beauty was possible with just about anything.

I recently decided to update my trunk because it was originally stained a dark walnut color and to be honest it was ready for an update.

Painting the Trunk with Dixie Belle Stormy Seas

Deciding on a color and painting

Deciding on a paint color took a couple of tries.  The first attempt was gravel road by Dixie Belle Paint, I love this color but it just wasn’t right.  After looking at it for almost a year I finally decided to give their Stormy Seas a try.

It was the perfect match; the exterior of the box was painted this color and the inside was left natural.

Learn how to Wax painted furniture

This post contains affiliate links for Dixie Belle Paint  Click here to read site terms.

Supplies for Waxing Trunk

The next step was to add a protective layer and I decided to give wax a try and you know what happened?  I fell in love with this product and the best part, it’s super easy to apply.

When Dixie Belle says they have the “best darn wax” they’re not joking.

They’re paint brushes are the best darn brushes too, they make painting a breeze and I recommend trying them because finding a good paint brush is no easy task.

Their blue sponges were also great, I used it dry for buffing.

Supplies for this step included

  • Clear and white wax
  • Blue Sponge
  • Chip Brush
  • Synthetic brush – all of which can be purchased online at Dixie Belle Paint right here.

Dixie Belle

Using a clear wax to project painted project

Applying Clear Waxing

The clear wax was applied first with the chip brush.  After letting that sit for 10 minutes, the blue sponge was used for buffing to get that nice soft finish.

I was pleased with that little step but this trunk has so much engraved detail I wanted to see if I could make it stand out using the white wax.

I chose white because I wanted that Stormy Seas color to remain the focus.

Using White Wax to bring out the Detail

Adding White Wax for Details

The white wax was applied with a brush over the engraved areas, let it sit and buffed with the blue sponge.  It worked perfectly and when finished this trunk felt like it was brought back to life.

It also looks great in our office area with our gardenia plant.  See that here.

I think Grandma would like it as well and some where there’s two more boxes out there just like this but in different sizes.  Perhaps whomever has them in my family may be inspired to update like I did.

Updating Grandmas Rose Trunk with Dixie Belle Paint Products. Learn how we made that engrave wood pop. #PaintingFurniture, #StorageTrunk