Accidental Community Garden

Last modified on 2012-07-18 15:25:29 GMT. 3 comments. Top.

Yesterday there were at least 4 ripe tomatoes on this tomato plant that sits on my back patio that faces the road.



Today, only two.

Hmmmm. Hope you enjoyed the tomatoes.

Whoever you are.

Also, I bought a few succulents this year and planted them together in one planter/tray thingy but I think I could have squished a few more in there. Fingers crossed that I don’t kill any of these lovelys because I really like them.



I don’t know the names of any of them but I noticed that three of them are sprouting weird growths.



Uhhh, gross.


What the heck?

What is going on here?


Sorry for the crappy photography. I don’t know what’s wrong with me lately.

Any succulent growing advice?

Wondering if those two ripe tomatoes will still be on the vine when I get home tonight…

DIY Ideas for Summer

Last modified on 2012-05-03 16:28:07 GMT. 1 comment. Top.

I’ve got gardening and other outdoorsy things on the brain and keep happening upon fun repurposed and DIY ideas.

Here are some I’ve seen recently from The Kitchn and Apartment Therapy.


DIY Wood Shim Window Box from Centsational Girl



DIY Beer (or wine or soda or juice box) Gutter Picnic Table



Ohhh, what about this DIY Succulant Pallet Table?



Coffee Bag Planter Pots



The Pothole Garden

Be sure to click on the link to The Pothole Gardener and scroll through to see some other pothole garden’s and watch the video’s to see reactions to the gardens.


Lastly, I spotted the chalkboard sign below in a picture online today.

It’s pertinent to my life.

Thought maybe it would be pertinent to yours as well.



Happy Thursday friends.

Farmhouse Wares

Last modified on 2012-04-17 13:19:01 GMT. 3 comments. Top.

I would like to introduce you to Farmhouse Wares.

Take a look at some of this stuff.

Click on the item title to be redirected to the Farmhouse Wares website for item description and price.

I l-o-v-e these crates and have put them on my wish list.


Vintage Style Nesting Herb Crates



Here you can see the crates hung in the kitchen of The Lettered Cottage.




 Vintage File Holder



Bee Keeping Prints



Clothes Pin Bag



Zinc Place Cards



Metal Cage Flower Frog Vases and Wire Caddy



If you have time, check out the Farmhouse Wares blog, Farmhouse Musings.

Happy Tuesday!

Food Everyday – M.S. Style

Last modified on 2011-08-10 16:41:02 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

I’m a sucker.

I can admit it.

I received an ad for the Martha Stewart Living Magazine and Everyday Food Magazine subscription for a total of $10 (included both magazines for that 10 bucks) and if I responded within 10 days of receiving that ad I would also receive a free canvas tote.

A free tote?!

$10 for two magazines, one that’s all recipes?!

Sign me up!

A few month’s have passed since the first issues of the two magazines started arriving. The M.S. Living doesn’t really excite me but I do like looking at the pictures.

The Everyday Food Magazine is pretty dang cool. I’m pretty sure I subscribed to it before a few years ago but didn’t like it.

I’m totally digging it now.

Here’s this month’s cover,

Notice all the ripped out pages?

That’s what I do with magazines.

I rip out the recipes I like, try them, and if I (and the husband) like them they go in to my recipe binders.

That way I don’t have to keep the whole magazine.

Here are a few of the recipes I ripped out last night that we’ll be trying in the upcoming weeks.

Sausage and Rice Stuffed Peppers



Grilled Honey-Mustard Chicken with Onions and Spinach Salad



Shrimp Rolls with Smoked Paprika Remoulade

I’ve wanted to try a lobster roll for a long time but haven’t been anywhere that the dish has been offered or sold. Plus lobster is too expensive for me to try to make a lobster roll myself. This shrimp roll seems a safer bet to start out with.


Harvest Vegetable Pancake with Greens and Goat Cheese

The husband is NOT excited about this one but I’m going to make it. He doesn’t have to eat it!


Plum Blueberry Upside down Cake

I don’t really plan on making this although is does sound. I mainly just liked the picture.

In addition to the recipes, the magazine offers a section called, Bites.

Remember my request for a tiffin box?

If not, you’ll just have to look it up here in the search box.

Anyhoo, friend Keri recently gifted me a tiffin box!!

Woohoo! Thanks Keri!

In the Bites section, a few lunch boxes were featured  including a tiffin box!

Here’s the one Keri gave me.

Cute, huh?


I really couldn’t believe that asking for something on my blog would mean that I would actually receive it.

If that’s how it works then…..

I’d really like some new shoes. Both athletic and dressy.

New dining room and living room furniture would be great.

Italy has been calling my name for quite some time now.

The non-stick coating on our pots and pans is starting to come off so, I could really use some new pots and pans.

New bedding would be great.

Contact me if you need my sizes or address or any further details.

Happy Wednesday!

Meal Planning Gift Set

Last modified on 2011-04-20 15:04:55 GMT. 7 comments. Top.

OK, so if you’ve read my blog for very long at all you’ll know that in order to save money and actually have the items in my kitchen I need to make a meal out of, I need a weekly meal plan.

I’ve not posted a meal plan for weeks and weeks…well….because I haven’t made a meal plan for weeks and weeks.

Here’s what happens when I don’t have a meal plan: Last night my dinner consisted of two fish sticks (that’s all that was left in the box that was in my freezer), four stuffed olives, and two asparagus stalks I had just picked from my garden.

Anyhoo, this morning I saw the cutest little item on The Kitchn and wanted to share it with you.

The Small Object’s Meal Planning Gift Set.


The set includes a notebook with room for 52 meal plans.

That’s a whole year’s worth of weekly meal planning!

Plus a pencil and some bookmarks.



All for $22. Not too bad!

Awesomeness.  Pure awesomeness.



Last modified on 2011-04-18 12:44:57 GMT. 3 comments. Top.

There’s something romantic and timeless about objects made of wood.

I have a great appreciation for people with the skills and creativity that it takes to make something new and functional from something already beautiful.

For example this Wooden Espresso Machine.





Or this cool stuff…

Photo by

Photo by

Photo by


Photo from


Log bowls. Awesome!

Photo from


Photo from


And finally, wood speakers.

Photo from

Pallet Love

Last modified on 2011-04-14 23:18:50 GMT. 7 comments. Top.

I’ve had a thing for pallets lately and just stumbled upon another great use of the underrated flat wooden crate.

I saw this a few months ago and want to duplicate the look in my dining room.

I even have an old pallet that I think will work.

I just need to actually take the time to add some nails (to hold the plates or bowls in place in the pallet) and then purchase some odds and ends of plates and bowls to set in it.

Today while perusing the interwebs, I came across this and think it’s genius.


Especially if you’re short on space.


Click here for the how-to article.

Pretty cool, huh?


Last modified on 2011-04-06 14:24:51 GMT. 2 comments. Top.

I want to be a quilter.

Quilts have a long and beautiful history in America.

From hand spinning and weaving fabric for clothes and blankets, to the invention and availability of the sewing machine, quilts have long been used for bedding, decorative wall hangings, blankets for soldiers, and have become treasured family heirlooms.


My grandmother was a quilter.


My mom’s a quilter.

I have a few good friends who are quilters.


OK, so none of the quilts above were made by my family or friends but aren’t they lovely?

Here’s the thing – quilting is intimidating!

All the detail and figuring out patterns just doesn’t make sense to my, apparently, simple brain.

About two years ago my mom found boxes of cut fabric that my grandma had worked on so I only needed to start sewing together small squares that would then eventually be sewn together to make larger squares, thus making the most beautiful quilt anyone has ever seen! *cough*

See here – stack of cut squares.

Photo from

After deciding on a pattern or at least which colors you want next to each other, start sewing the squares together.

Like this.

Photo from

Sew on some sort of backing and presto chango…..

A beautiful patchwork quilt!

I liked the idea of hand sewing each square and thought is was romantic and would show off my newly discovered skill.

Turns out my handiwork is more free-form than exact and the two squares I hand-sewed together look like a 4 year old sewed them.

Maybe I should just use a sewing machine.

My mom gave me her old one but I can’t remember how to use it.

A number of people have offered to help me but again, I just get overwhelmed.

Then while talking to my friend Patty, she introduced me to a book called, Intuitive Color & Design by Jean Wells.

The idea  is that you just pick whatever colors speak to you in whatever size and pattern and just start sewing them together however feels right to you.

I think I can do that.

Just need to figure out how to use my sewing machine!

I’ve decided if I can get one even crazy, I mean intuitive, looking quilt under my belt then I’ll be confident enough to move on to something that requires a little more forethought and skill.

I’m pretty sure I could do something like this!


I think I can. I think I can. I think I can.


Grocery Bag Purse

Last modified on 2011-03-15 17:52:56 GMT. 1 comment. Top.

Saw this on The Pioneer Woman’s website today.

Photo from

So cool!

Here’s another on a website with instructions.

Photo from

Made out of plastic grocery bags.

Too bad I have no idea how to knit.


Recipe Storage

Last modified on 2011-03-07 14:30:53 GMT. 5 comments. Top.


Yesterday while perusing a few of my favorite blogs I noticed a theme, recipe storage.

I’d like to chime in.

For the most part I’m a fairly organized person and this organization applies to my recipes as well.

I’m not a huge fan of cookbooks because inevitably there will be very few recipes that I really like and will make more than once or twice. Cookbooks are big and bulky, hard to keep open to the page you want, and get dirty easily. I have limited cabinet space so storage is an issue for me too. Don’t get me wrong though. I love reading them and the few that I do have I really, really like.

I’m also not a huge fan of the recipe card. I don’t want to have to flip through a small box of recipes to find what I want. Then because they’re small and I have large handwriting I end up using two or three cards per recipe making them even less useful.

Thankfully, as a wedding gift, my friend Kayla gave me a binder with some of her favorite and family recipes in it. Each recipe was printed on a piece of 8 1/2 x 11 paper and placed in to a clear plastic sleeve.


While I don’t have that original binder from Kayla, I did keep the letter she wrote to us that was included with her gift.

Since receiving that first binder I’ve expanded my collection of recipes and now have 4 binders filled to the brim.

The recipes in my binders are my favorites.

Some I’ve printed from online sources, some are handwritten from my mother-in-law and grandmother, some are ripped from magazines. All are safely protected by a cheap plastic sleeve that I can easily wipe clean after each use.

As you can see above I failed to put this recipe in a plastic sleeve before using it a time or two.

A page I ripped out of a magazine and the recipe for the Cabernet-Braised Short Ribs (can’t believe I’m giving this out) is a-mazing.

My mother-in-law gave my husband a binder of her recipes when he moved out on his own and we’ve kept them all.

The binders I use are square and close completely with little tabs and so store easily. I bought them about seven years ago and haven’t seen them anywhere in stores or online since. Bummer.

How do you store your recipes?



B-Day Stuff

Last modified on 2010-12-16 17:12:38 GMT. 4 comments. Top.

My birthday was last week.

I spent some quality time with my husband Luke (who spoiled me) and my family (who spoiled me).

The night before my birthday, Luke surprised me with an amazing bouquet of flowers AND a piece of cheesecake from Bucca di Beppo (my favorite place for cheesecake). The day of my birthday he took me to a couple of my favorite restaurants and took me shopping at a fancy schmancy mall.

My mom took me and my sister-in-law Jami, who had a birthday two days before me and is MUCH older than me, to a madrigal dinner which was wonderful.

The next day my three younger brothers, sister-in-law and nieces joined us at my mom’s for a birthday dinner for me and Jami.

I have the best and funniest family. Ever. We always have such a good time together. After dinner we had a Wii dance-off. Andy, my oldest younger brother and husband of Jami, won.

I took videos with my phone of my brothers dancing but can’t figure out how to get them off my phone to share them with you. Bummer because I’m pretty sure you would be impressed.

One of my birthday presents from Andy and Jami (and my nieces) was this little camera keyring from Kikkerland.

The camera is no more than an inch and a half tall and when you push the little shutter button the tiny LED flash flashes a bunch of times and the camera sounds like it’s quickly taking 5 pictures in a row.

I felt like I was walking the red carpet and paparazzi were yelling my name and saying “JB! Over here! Over here!”.

Big fun.

I decided to take a look at Kikkerland‘s website and boy oh boy do they have some fun looking stuff!

If you happen to need last minute gift ideas this is some exciting stuff. If nothing else, maybe just bookmark the website and when you do need a gift you know you can find something good there.

Thanks for a great birthday Luke and mom and stepdad and brothers and sister-in-law and Mary and Jessica!

Gift Ideas – 4

Last modified on 2010-11-29 18:52:58 GMT. 1 comment. Top.

Here are some fun ideas for Christmas gifts for the people you are going to buy for.

I think this stuff is cool but this isn’t MY wish list. I’m just trying to do my part to help.

Maybe this doesn’t really count as helping. Whateves.

Click on the item title to be redirected to the store that sells the item.

SmartWool Socks

I received a pair of these (an early birthday present) and l-o-v-e them. SmartWool has socks and clothes for men, women, and kids.


Fingerprint Bookmark Band

Pretty cool. I’ve been reading and reading lately and even with a bookmark sometimes I forget where I left off reading on a particular page.


T-Shirt Graffiti Marker Kit

Fun for kids. Fun for adults.


Around the Fireplace Nightlight

$20 may be a bit much for this but it’s fun.


Open Top Canvas Tote

The medium size is on sale right now!


Next Gift Ideas list – homemade gift ideas!

Confession: Gift Wrap Snob

Last modified on 2010-11-10 18:32:52 GMT. 9 comments. Top.

Yes, it’s true.

I am a gift wrap snob. Or at least I was.

A loooooong time ago I worked at the mall in a store that sold greeting cards, upscale paper, stationary, wrapping paper, and ribbon.

The store offered gift wrapping and so I quickly learned how to wrap presents in beautiful and unique paper and ribbons.

There IS a difference between cheap and expensive wrapping paper. I can still feel the thick smooth high-end wrapping paper in my hands. It folded and creased so nicely without tearing. I only used three pieces of tape per package and you couldn’t see them when I was finished.

When I was finished wrapping a present it was a work of art not unlike the presents in the picture below.

Here are some gift wrap samples from The Container Store.

Aren’t they beautiful?

Then the ribbon. I would sometimes use a couple of different kinds or colors to wrap the whole package then finish it off with a complicated bow.

My favorite is organdy ribbon with just a little bit of wire along the edges.

The older I got the more I realized that to give a beautifully wrapped gift didn’t mean I needed to pay lots of money for the materials. In fact many times the wrapping materials would cost more than the gift.

While I’ll always appreciate the gift wrapping skills I learned while working at that retail store, I just can’t make myself purchase high-end gift wrap anymore.

I did see this on the Neiman Marcus website and am trying to find a way to justify getting some personalized wrapping paper.

Too bad it’s $90 a roll.

Nowadays when I give a gift the recipient is lucky if I recycle an old used gift bag to use as wrapping for their present. Or if I’m real desperate a Walmart plastic bag.

It’s the thought that counts, right?


Moleskine vs Mead

Last modified on 2010-10-14 15:27:44 GMT. 2 comments. Top.

A while back I posted about being creative and wanting a fancy Moleskine notebook to write all of my awesome ideas in the instant they popped into my head.

Mainly because I have the memory of a 95 year old and in the off chance that I did come up with an awesome blog post idea I certainly wouldn’t want to be caught without some sort of writing utensil and paper so that later I could remind myself of my awesome idea.

And I think the Moleskine notebooks and journals just look cool.

Alas, at $10.95 plus shipping for a pocket-sized notebook, I could not justify purchasing one.

Then this week while at Walmart (I hate Walmart and think it equally as stupid and weird as Jell-O but I go there anyway because I’m a slave to their low prices dammit) I found a Mead brand knock-off of the Moleskine pocket-sized notebook.

And the price?

$5.97 plus tax. Wha?!

I couldn’t get to the check-out line fast enough.

Here she is in all her glory.

Now, if only I could find a pen.


Last modified on 2010-09-20 17:02:40 GMT. 3 comments. Top.

I love finding quirky art.

Not that I buy any of it.

But I do like it.


From the 20×200 website:

“When we first launched, the smallest size was reprinted in the largest batch — an edition of 200 — and sold at the lowest price — $20. Hence the name 20×200. (We say it: “twenty by two-hundred.” 200×20 just didn’t sound as good.) We also offer 11″x14″ editions of 500 for $50, 16″x20″ editions of 20 for $200, 20″x24″ editions of 50 for $500, 24″x30″ editions of 10 for $1,000 and 30″x40″ editions of 2 for $2,000. We may occasionally offer editions at other sizes and price points. Usually, the original artwork is also available so let us know if you want the one-and-only!”

So cool.

I like these.

Resting on a Bush by Yijun Liao

Untitled (Sad Vader) by Alex Brown

Bird’s Nest by Keith Taylor

Lamb No. 3 by Sharon Montrose

Nice Pants by Landon Nordeman

Gosling Lake by Kurt Tong

28 Camera Drawings by Christine Berrie

iSketch837 by Jorge Colombo

Whatcha think?

Mrs. Meyer’s

Last modified on 2010-09-17 00:34:07 GMT. 3 comments. Top.

I’m a sucker for good smelling “stuff”. Candles, cleaning products, hair products, lotions…

You get my drift.

Aside from smelling super-great, these are great cleaners and soaps. I first tried the multipurpose cleaner years ago.

The lavender scent is what caught my eye. I love the smell of lavender. So relaxing and fresh.

Anyhoo, since that first experience Mrs. Meyer’s has more than doubled her line of cleaning products.

I recently tried this soap while staying at my friend’s lake house. Perfect scent for summer.

I may have faked going to the bathroom on more than one occasion just to have an excuse to wash my hands again so I could smell this soap some more. A bit creepy, I know.

Now I kind of feel like I should buy my friend a replacement bottle of this soap.

The products are a bit pricey, $3.99 for the hand soap, but worth it in my mind.

Not that I have any of these products.

Because when I go to the store to buy hand soap and see the $.99 generic bottle next to this $3.99 bottle I can’t make myself buy the $3.99 bottle.

I would really like to try the laundry soap but I make my own. I can tell you about that some other time.

So I thought maybe I could try the fabric softener.

Until I looked at the price.

$7.99 for 32 oz. Can’t do it. Way too much for me.

There’s only one store in my small town that carries any of the Mrs. Meyer’s products and I don’t go there often.

Turns out that’s probably a good thing or maybe it doesn’t matter at all. Apparently when I’m presented with options, even with an option I really like, I chicken out and go with the cheap stuff.

This probably says something deep and insightful about me.

I don’t think I care to know what that is.

Cool Stuff

Last modified on 2010-09-02 12:33:38 GMT. 2 comments. Top.


A toothbrush with a weighted bottom. No need to freak out when you set your toothbrush down and it rolls over on the sink getting toothpaste everywhere.


Certainly not for everyone but a real hollowed out tree fitted with sound equipment and used as a iPod or iPhone docking station.


A chair that flips into a working station.

Spaghetti Ruler

Use this to eliminate water waste and measure portions.

Coat Rack

Made from a concrete and wooden sticks.

Desktop Microwave Oven

It is what it says it is. This one bothers me a little. As if people need another reason to sit on their butts and gain weight. What’s next? The executive potty chair? OK, maybe that was going too far.


Talk about safe bike riding! Be sure to click on the title and check out the other pictures. Not sure I understand how it works but it sure does look cool.

All of these items are featured on the Industrial Design Served website.

Our Lush and Overproductive Garden

Last modified on 2010-07-30 13:06:35 GMT. 2 comments. Top.

Here is a picture of our garden.

Isn’t it lovely? Whew! Talk about a lot of work! It’s worth it though. All those fresh veggies, grown in our backyard.

I lied.

This is our garden.


You can’t see anything?

Yeah me either. Probably because you’re looking at weeds. Lots and lots of weeds. We planted a couple of tomato plants, a row of corn, and some pepper plants. They’re in there somewhere. I can’t even figure out how to get into the “garden” at this point.

Sad. Very sad. You would think I would be too embarrassed to even show you this. But I’m not. I think it’s funny.

Here’s to next year’s garden!

Brook Farm General Store

Last modified on 2010-07-27 13:07:07 GMT. 4 comments. Top.

Look at this stuff. I have got to stop looking around online because every time I do I find more and more stuff I think I want and/or need.

This stuff is just cool and campy and farmhousey.


Solar Powered Radio

Linen Kitchen Towels for a mere $130.

Stainless Steele Straws! Love them.

Brook Farm General Store

120% lino

Last modified on 2010-07-07 02:10:28 GMT. 5 comments. Top.

Some day I might have a baby. If I do and if I have a girl, I’m totally getting some of these clothes for her to wear from 120% lino assuming my baby is a baby in the summer and assuming I could afford clothes from Italy…

and this

and then this

The end.

Kim Parker

Last modified on 2010-06-28 19:55:02 GMT. 4 comments. Top.

I love artist Kim Parker’s work. They’re happy paintings.

I have a print of the one above and below.

I saw Kim’s paintings in a magazine, can’t remember which one now maybe Better Homes and Gardens, and really liked them. I was at Target (my happy place) a few years ago and while perusing the clearance section saw the first print above on clearance for $13. I HAD to have it! Unfortunately the glass in the frame was broken when we moved a year and a half ago. I still have it and will get it re-framed someday.

The second print was a gift from my brother and sister-in-law.

Since first seeing Kim’s art in that magazine she has  written a childrens book.

And now has bedding, note cards, pillows, and scarves.

I’d say Kim’s art is pretty recognizable but then she went and threw some paintings like this in the mix

While I like it, I certainly don’t like it as much as her happy flower prints.

Here’s a website where you can see all the Kim Parker products:

My Funky Camera

Last modified on 2010-06-02 16:48:29 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

Stumbled upon this website and l-o-v-e the styles and options.  I’ll be adding a new camera strap to my wish list. Plus, what a great gift idea!

Whimsy Blooms by My Funky Camera

I think this one is my favorite.

Then there’s this super-cute one

Cherry Blossoms White and Green by My Funky Camera

There’s also fun wristlets

Faux Python Silver by My Funky Camera

Here’s the website:

Great find!

Last modified on 2010-06-02 16:50:30 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

My coworker turned me on to which is this awesome site where you can buy and sell handmade items of all kids. Check it out.

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