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June 30, 2014

Clay Pottery Star Spangled

I have seen a lot of inspiration out there for crafty items for the Independence Day celebrations.  I'm not too crafty so I like "easy" projects and quick results!

 I made of pair of these which will probably be set on the outdoor dining table for the 4th of July celebrating!

 The clay pots were spray painted inside and out and I used a cone shaped styrofoam piece to set in the center and poke my pics into.  The decorations on the outside are foam cutouts from JoAnn Fabrics.  They stick real good- you can't remove them if you change your mind (yes I tried) LOL   I used some of that shredded paper to stuff around the pics.  The pics came from Hobby Lobby and Michaels.

There are cute little pinwheel pics too....and they work....these were spinning as I took the pictures!

I was late going to the stores so I only got what was left.  I would have liked twice as many pics as I got, but overall I'm happy.

Getting my Independence Day decorating started!
I'm joining
Between Naps on the Porch for
Metamorphosis Monday

Our Home Away From Home for
Tuesdays at our Home

Kathe With an E for

A Stroll Thru Life for

Have A Cup Of Mrs. Olson for

http://jannolson.blogspot.com/2014/07/share-your-cup-thursday-109.html

 
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Transformers and "Deckorating"

I heard this morning that the new Transformers movie opened up with over $100 million at the box office! Well my "transformer" trike won't earn me any big bucks like that, but my "Lit'l Blue" garden trike is now "Litl' Yellow"! 

 Here she is moments after painting!

I feel kind of dumb since just last week I posted about transforming the trike to blue.  After living with it for several days I knew I it wasn't right.  It was too strong of a blue and didn't flow well with the coloring of my things.  I was going to try softer blue color, but I had this can of yellow spray paint that had been barely used and I loved the color so I decided to let go of the blue and transform my trike into yellow!


 We've had a lot of rain lately and are expecting more.  The sun came out as thought to "wink" at me as I brought this out from the garage to put back on the deck.


 The lantern is from T.J. Maxx about 2 years ago.  It has a battery operated candle.   There was nothing that indicated it was for outdoors, but I went ahead and put it outside last year.  It got rained on many times and there was standing water inside the candle more than once, and yet it always worked, so I guess it was intended to be an outdoor lantern! 


I also played around with my two planter stands that flank my back door.
  I had Dan paint these stands last year. The idea was for them to look like unfinished steel. 
(Still haven't re-stained this area of the deck. It get's a lot of wear and tear during the winter months as we have to shovel the snow and ice away almost daily.)
 Last year these planters were my inspiration for both the color and planting.  I liked the kind of raw metal look these had and they gave me the idea of planting the top of mine stands with the coco liners.  I loved the idea of the moss they used, but my practical side chose the coco liners.

 Last years presentation... I tried to make it look collected. 

  The swan is "floating" around somewhere and the trays that you can barely see here have been painted a new color and are in use somewhere else! 

 I decided to try a new approach for the lower shelf.  I found some cute things at Hobby Lobby for 50% off.  My little rose decorated pots came from Pennsylvania on one of our visits a few years ago. 

 I'm pretty sure they are made of a resin product so they should be able to withstand the the outdoor elements.  I have to get some flameless candles that are safe for outdoors to put in the cutwork lanterns.
 
 I picked up three birds so I divided them between the two planters.  The tall clay vase I've had for a few years (another T.J. Maxx find).  

So that's my "deckorating" for now!

I'll put together some pictures of the whole deck in another post.

I'm joining
Between Naps on the Porch for







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June 27, 2014

This Week's Ramblings (#2) and a Recipe


On Monday I posted about painting this little garden trike blue "here"
Infuse With Liz
I wanted to add a pop of color which I definitely did thanks to Dan's help.
Now I think it's too bright and want to paint it again...LOL...

Infuse With Liz
 I did a fun 4th of July tablescape which I can easily replicate for the holiday.
You can visit that post "here"

Infuse With Liz
I broke the table down and put the flags from the centerpiece into the big blue pot.

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 It's nice to do this early and get in the mood.  Sometimes if I wait to the last minute I end up not doing much.

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I'm keeping the little chicken basket on the table.  Eventually it's going to be mounted on the wall without the napkins- I'll keep it this way through the holiday.  I love these little Milk Bottle candles.  They are by a company called Milkhouse Candle Creamery. 

Infuse With Liz
 I added a couple of flags out on the deck area.  I think the Rooster statue needs a bandanna don't you?

Almost everyday I spend a bit of time outdoors with my garden plants.
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 Last fall I picked up this awesome cast iron Garden sign but I couldn't decide what to do with it.  I finally decided to rest it here and I like it.

Infuse With Liz

  On Monday I shared a story on my garden blog about a new tree we planted.  You are welcome to drop by and see it "here"

Here is the recipe I promised to share for the Bar-B-Q Beef.
This is a recipe we've had in the family since the early 1960's.

Shredded Bar-B-Q Beef



Ingredients and directions:

2 lb. Beef Chuck (2 in. thick) 
Veg. oil to brown meat 
Salt and Pepper 

Brown the roast on both sides with oil, adding the salt and pepper to both sides.  Cover pan and simmer meat until tender. (If pan becomes too dry add a bit of water, but not much) I actually put it in the oven after browning (350 deg. F).  My mom always used an electric skillet but not everyone likes those so use your favorite method.  I'm estimating 4 to 6 hrs. to tenderize. 

When meat is about done combine the following in another pan: 

2 T Butter 
1 Medium Onion (chopped finely) 
  (Cook butter and Onion in pan for a bit to tenderize the onion)
1 clove garlic (can omit if you don't like) 
1/4 C Water 
1 C Ketchup 
2 T Vinegar 
2 T Brown Sugar 
2 T Worcestershire Sauce 
1 t Chile Powder 
1 t Dry Mustard 
3 thin Slices of Lemon 
(don't substitute with lemon juice- it's not the same affect) 
Simmer these ingredients for at least 15 minutes. 

Let the beef rest a bit, then pull apart/shred with forks.   Combine with the sauce you've prepared and heat it a bit longer (remove the lemon pieces).  Serve on buns.  
Serves about 8

The printable recipe is here


Have a wonderful weekend everyone!



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June 25, 2014

Let's Hear It For The Red White And Blue!

Celebrating our Independence! 

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A casual setting saluting the Independence of our Country
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I've created a small centerpiece with a pair of flags adorning it

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 I chose to use this wire wall basket as a caddy for napkins and straws.  I stuffed some excelsior in the bottom of the basket to act like bedding for the chicken and a there are a few cherries that are tucked in the back.  It's also easy to remove if needed. We serve buffet style most of the time since the table doesn't accommodate much in the way of serving dishes.

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The salt glazed coffee cup has been with me a long time.  I spotted it this morning when I pulled out the straws from the cupboard.  Kind of my own "I Heart America" look!

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 I rolled the napkins using a taper candle as my form and tied them off with the blue ribbon before I removed the candle.  Notice the cute mini salt and pepper shakers- those were  gifted to me from Kathe @ Kathe With an E last year.  I saw some salt and pepper shakers she had used with a tablescape and commented on how I liked them.   I thought they'd go well with my ear of corn dish and the next thing I know she sent me this 4 pc. set!  
Thank you again Kathe!

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 I followed the sales and finally got these melamine dishes from Pottery Barn.  I loved the wavy uneven design.  The placemats and tablecloth are from Kohls (great sale prices, but pretty picked over already).   Red swirl glasses are from Pier 1 about 3 years ago.  They always bring in a festive look to any table!

Infuse With Liz
 I hate to use a flash but this was the only way to get a picture of this corner (it's about to rain here again and it's overcast and kind of dark).  I wanted to add some patriotic accents to the room.  The big metal star was given to me by my sister several years ago  (Cracker Barrel).  The Uncle Sam Nutcracker was from Hobby Lobby earlier in the spring this year.

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This jolly Uncle Sam is from last year (Pier 1). I had to put him somewhre- he's so cute!
I used him twice last year once "here" and the other "here"

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  Casual and patriotic with a little country flair!

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 Let's hear it for the Red, White and Blue!

I have a good recipe shredded beef.  It's an old one from the 60's that my family always loves and it's called Bar-B-Q Beef.  I don't know how to do it in a printable recipe form but I'll put it on another post for Friday in case anyone would like it!

 I'm joining
Between Naps on the Porch
for
Tablescape Thursday

The Dedicated House
for
Anything Blue Friday



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June 23, 2014

A New Tree

Well a command decision was made and the Coral Bark Japanese Maple was removed. It was a very hard to make the decision, but after a good honest conversation from one of the garden center employees, he told me that none of those ever seem to do well up here and that was all I needed to confirm my decision.

This is the tree a couple of years ago- it was a nice specimen tree

This was it as of yesterday.  After taking a good look at it and realizing that even if I trimmed it I'd have a stub of a tree and at the ultra slow rate it's been growing it would be years before it would amount to anything so out it went!

I think this is a result of getting a tree that is zoned for zone 5 and above.  It was supposed to also have variegated leaves but they stayed more of a solid green and coral bark often looked gray rather than coral.  So enough of that and on to it's replacement.  I looked up some information on the tree and I read a couple of forums and a lot of people complained about this tree.  I guess it's just a delicate species.

I spotted this Dwarf Birch tree (Betula Nana) at the garden center and decided that it was what I wanted.  I've always loved Birch trees, but the regular Birch trees are too tall and wouldn't have the right look for this area anyway.  I fell for this little guy immediately.

We picked up two bags of composted manure and two bags of a blend that was recommended for trees and shrubs.  We also added some of our composted material from out back where the leaves go every fall  so it's going to be spreading it's roots in some real good stuff!

The ugly process of pulling back the (darn) lava that we put down in the 90's was no fun.  I would never put it down again for two reasons- 1) it's horrible to try and walk on when you have to get around  it to trim shrubs and 2) it's the worst to dig around or remove!  It's breaking down a bit as you can see the soil has a red cast to it, at least at the top layer.

 Dan decided it was too hot and there was no air flow so he went off to get a fan and I took a couple of pictures of the island out front.  Those blue spruces have grown so much I am just amazed.  

My peonies are in full bloom right now. Many other plants are coming up and should be blooming soon.  The Delphinium on the left are going to be huge again this year!

The lighter pink and white ones are flopped over on the other side.  There are shasta daisies that should be blooming before long in the forefront.



There was some old black landscape fabric that he had to work to get through and the hole got wider and deeper as he went along.  This area has some crappy dirt.  When they built this house we think they pushed in some cheap fill dirt because it's a mix of sand, gravel and rocks.  Way down lower it gets back to some good quality soil.  Anyway, lots of digging and then finally it was planted.   I was the official gofer (go for this, go for that) hole filler and waterer!  

 This looks a bit lackluster because the shrubs need trimming and the tree is short.  It will only grow to 10-12' tall but it will take a while for it to get there.  My main goal for putting a tree in this area is to improve on the look of the corner where the addition meets the original house. It needs some height and width, but it can't be too big.  I'll take  picture after I get the shrubs trimmed, but the Spireas are about to bloom and I try to wait until they're done.  I have some ornamental grass there too that looks out of place now… always something!

I was trying to rake out the hidden oak leaves I found hiding under the Spireas- they stick to that lava like fly paper!  My plants all look off center now too.  Now I want another Van Houtteis Spiraea to go on the left to match the one on the right that's near the window.  I believe the bright green Spirea's are called Lemon Princess.  I am not positive on the little one in the center, but it stays nice and compact.  Spireas perform well here so I don't mind using them.

Other than that it was an average weekend!  How about you- did you get any projects done?


 

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