Decorating the Garden with Junk Finds

I picked up this old gate at a yard sale two weeks ago.  It makes such a cute backdrop for my rose garden. I threw together the little welcome sign in 10 minutes flat.

This old hand pump was all rusty, but I gave it a coat of paint in a sunny yellow to brighten it up.  The DM Ferry & Co sign is another yard sale buy.

A rusty bit of junk I found at the dump.  Don't know what this thing is at all.

Another dump find, this feeder got a home in a tomato cage

An old storm window that I hung on my house.  I painted the images on the window to dress it up a little.

I found a 3 panel hinged fire screen at a yard sale and took it apart.  I used two of the panels when I built my potting bench.  They sit inside a frame created by another old storm window I found.

 And the finished bench:

I bought up all the galvanized buckets and tubs I found - there seemed to be a lot of them in this year's yard sales!  Yay for me!!  They are now my planters.

This $30 DIY shed was inspired by Donna's love of pallet wood.  I didn't use pallet wood for my project because I had wood in my stock pile and I had a bunch donated to me by a friend who had leftovers after building a fence, but this would be an excellent project for pallet wood.

Two old doors I found got a new life as a privacy screen/windbreak on my tiny deck.  I was able to anchor my patio umbrella to them - we have some wicked wind storms that blow up out of nowhere around these parts!  Notice my large planter?  Another fabulous galvanized tub I found a couple of summers ago.  LOVE.IT.!!

I used a small pallet to build a step up to the door as well.

and on the other side of those doors is my rock-and-thyme patio and my pride & joy $3 wood stepladder - woot!

Notice the rusty junk sitting on the bottom rung?  No idea what that thing is but I dug up 3 of them when  I was building gardens.  

See my new shutters?  They were inspired by Donna, too.  She built an awesome window treatment for her living room using 1x4s and I just fell in love.

This is when they were newly built a couple of months ago, now the wood is shrinking and you can see the cracks between the pieces better.  They are exactly what I wanted - plus I added some carriage door hardware to dress them up more.

And my latest yard sale finds. Wonder what I'm going to do with all this stuff...

Thanks for visiting! Have a fabulous weekend - and don't forget to hit those yard sales, you never know what you're gonna find :)

If you want more details, click on these headings:

How to build a potting bench
DIY Shed for $30
Adding Curb Appeal on a Dime

I'm over at What Meegan Makes

Come on over to What Meegan Makes with me! It's Field Trip Friday and she's visiting with me.

I'm a little late at telling you about it. What a week this has been!!!!!

Before you go, check out my garage sale finds from today. Total cost $10. I'm still in awe:

Don't forget to check out Field Day Friday at What Meegan Makes.  Click HERE to head on over.

Happy Saturday!

With a small budget, big dreams and a love of a challenge, Anne blogs about renovating and decorating her tiny 1930s bungalow. A self-taught artist and professed power tool lover, she enjoys writing, gardening, photography, nature and diy'ing. And she's never met a dumpster she didn’t want to root through! Come along for the ride!!
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Epsom Salts for the Home, Garden AND Natural Beauty!

You probably already have a bag of Epsom Salts hanging around your house.  Pretty much everyone knows you can use it in the bathtub for muscle aches, but did you know how versatile Epsom Salts really are?

Epsom salts aren't a salt like table salt, they are a naturally occurring pure mineral compound of magnesium and sulfate. This combination has a multitude of benefits for health, gardening and household uses.  I use them all the time in my garden and around the house.  Here are just a few of the ways  I use Epsom Salts:

First Aid and Beauty

1. Ease muscle strain: Add 2 cups to bath water and soak for at least 20 minutes.

2. Cut & inflammation relief: A thick paste of Epsom salt and water applied to the affected area will provide additional relief.

3. Foot care: Soaking your feet in an Epsom salt bath can help relieve the symptoms of Athlete's Foot, gout and toenail fungus.

4. Splinter remover: If you have a splinter, soak the area in Epsom salts and hot water and the splinter will dislodge on its own.

5. Hair clarifier: To remove product buildup combine one gallon of water, one cup of lemon juice and one cup of Epsom salts.Cover the mixture and let it sit for at least 24 hours. When it is ready,pour it over dry hair and leave it on for 20 minutes before shampooing.

6. Exfoliator: Epsom salts rubbed over wet skin make a great exfoliator.

7. Hand cleaner: Epsom salt mixed with baby oil is an effective hand wash.

House & Garden

8. Bathroom tile cleaner: Epsom salts + Liquid Dish Detergent in equal parts

9. Slug deterrent: Epsom salts sprinkled in a circle around garden plants will prevent slugs from reaching the plants as well as provide the plants with a source of magnesium necessary to help them flourish.

10. Fertilizer: apply a quarter cup every six weeks around heavy feeders such as roses and rake into the soil. If you throw in a couple of banana peels per rose bush for a dose of potassium as well, your roses will thrive!

11. Lawn insect pest killer: Epsom salts used on your lawn will safely and naturally get rid of insect pests as well as make your lawn green. Use a ratio of two tbsp to a gallon of water.  This works so well, you'll never want to use chemicals on your lawn again!

Another naturally occurring substance that can help you rid your life of chemicals and pesticides!  Get out there and spread it around.

Have a great week!

Adding Curb Appeal on a Dime

Such an important facet yet in my case it was left to (almost) the last area on my list for improvements... my front facade. It had some limitations for sure. An addition the size of the original 1930s cottage was built over the driveway, blocking off any access to my garage (now my workshop/studio). 

In addition, the off-road parking goes right up to the house.  Adding some plant life to soften the facade is part of my 2014 to-do list.

This is what the house looked like the day I took possession:

Cute but needs work.

At first I thought it would be a good idea to add dark brown accents to bring in the colour of the roofing. I painted the door and railing brown.  This made the other accents look shabby, so I spray painted the house numbers, the mailbox, the door knocker and the screen door handle in a satin black.

I lived with it for a year and then swapped out the lights on either side of the door for black metal ones to match the house numbers.

I had let the little gardens at either side of the front porch go.  There were so many weeds I just didn't have enough time to keep up.  Plus I planned to tear off the front landing and steps and rebuild something much larger and nicer.  Then the bathroom reno from hell hit and all the money went toward it instead.  Another year went by and I HAD to do something.  

I started by strategically planting a tree that would grow tall enough to shade my porch and dining room window but not grow taller than the house itself.  It's an Amur Maple, green leaves with a reddish tinge in the summer and scarlet fall colour (if the deer leave it alone that is).  It's a really pretty tree and very hardy - it's a tree that grows in Russia.   Then I weeded all the chickweed out of the bed nearest the tree because I plan to keep it and expand it after the landing is done.

The other side of the porch has been neglected again.  I don't plan to keep that garden, it will be torn out either this fall or early next spring.

Next up was building and installing shutters for the windows.  Just 1x4 boards that I glued and screwed together using two 1x4 braces across the back of the boards.  There are a hundred and one tutorials on these board & batten shutters, so I won't bore you with those details.

I had a heck of a time deciding what colour to paint the shutters but settled on white for the moment.  Then I remembered I still had some carriage door hardware that never got installed on my last home's garage doors! so I slapped those on as well.   Total cost for the 6 shutters - wood + paint + hardware $50

Hammered Wrought Iron Hardware

Painted Aluminum Hardware

I had two sets of carriage door hardware that didn't match. I used one type on the new addition windows and another, older looking type on the old house windows.  I think it looks kind of eclectic and cool.

I purposely attached the shutters to the house with the crosspieces at the back of the shutters so that if/when I want to paint them, I don't have to take them off the house or worry about getting paint on the siding cause I have a gap between the shutters and the siding.  Brilliant, huh?  

Hmmm something still isn't working with this colour scheme.

I got out the white paint and painted the vinyl siding end caps and the trim around the windows.   Oh - MUCH better already!  

So much brighter and I eliminated that odd choice of accent colour (that I can only describe as "flesh" coloured...) that did absolutely nothing for the house.  I also decided to paint my front door, but what colour?!

I feng shui'd my house and discovered that while brown was a good option for my East facing front door, I could also use blue, green or turquoise.  TURQUOISE!!  Okey dokey then!  Out came my fave aqua paint.  Even then it took me two weeks to get used to the new colour of the door.  Something was still really off.

If I get rid of my screen door, I'm going to have
to paint that doorknob...

I tackled the rest of the brown accents that were now #1 on my most-hated-thing-about-my-facade list.  I painted out the brown with either white or aqua.  Here's the new front facade:

I think this colour scheme makes it look much more cottage'y'.  It certainly makes me happier!

Best of all this was done for under $100!  Shutters (incl paint) $50, same paint was used to paint out the brown $0, the aqua paint (my go-to colour, so I already had it on hand) $0, lights 2 for $12, tree $30, weeding & edging $0.  Total cost $92!



UPDATE:  I had a new front landing built and it has made such a huge difference!  Click on the photo for details:

Next up will be painting the skirting boards but I'm back to my what-colour-to-pick dilemma.  Since those boards are stained I'll have to prime first.  Maybe the white primer will help me decide whether to go white or match the siding...  

Have you used Feng Shui principles on your home?  Share your stories if you have!

For more ideas on adding curb appeal, click on the photo below:

oh, and if you're looking for a great tute on how to build b&b shutters, click HERE :)

Sunday Afternoon in the Garden

It's August. Can you believe it?!  The weather was beautiful on Sunday and I took some time off to laze around the yard and play with my camera.  Enjoy the tour!


 I wish I could truly capture the glory of these Rudbeckias, but somehow it never translates onto the photos

 Eloise loves sleeping on this tiny deck outside my bedroom.

During my weekend of curb appeal updates, I gave my garbage can enclosure a long overdue makeover  using my favourite aqua - naturally!

This is the shed I build for $30 three summers ago back when I was learning to build.  
If you want to see how I built it, click HERE

A hummingbird flew in but I couldn't get close enough for a good shot, this is a hugely cropped photo!

I agree with the name selection for this Knockout Rose.

The Black-eyed Susans went crazy seeding in my yard last summer - they're everywhere!

Here's Eloise, still hanging out in the same spot!

Doesn't the honeysuckle look like butterflies hovering?

Maggie thinks it's too hot... 

I just planted a rose garden this summer, this is a Bill Reid rose.  Isn't it gorgeous?

 Caught a bee in my photo!

 and yet more Rudbeckias!

and to close, my all-time favourite flower.  I just bought this Hydrangea Little Lime a month ago.  It was on sale and I couldn't resist...  The flowers are even more gorgeous than the photo on the plant marker.
Don't you just love lazy days? 

Have a wonderful week!