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Thursday, May 28, 2015

DIY Outdoor Storage ~ Create your own outdoor organization system to simply your storage needs. Whether you're looking to keep your gardening tools straight or hold outdoor entertaining supplies, there's a storage solution for everyone.

Patio Buffet Table
Corral your outdoor dining utensils in one concentrated space with a homemade patio table. Sturdy, outdoor-designed fabric hides the shelving below the storage unit that doubles as a buffet table when guests come to visit.

Outdoor Desk
Create a space to host all your outdoor supplies, including chalk, toys, and more, with a simple garage desk. Hang hooks nearby to hold umbrellas and other outdoor gear; chalkboard signs and bright colors give the space an indoor-outdoor appeal.

Cinderblock Furniture
Creating tables and benches out of concrete cinderblocks provides ample space for outdoor storage and places to plant greenery, too. The holes in the blocks are the perfect space to keep outdoor belongings.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

10 Time-Tested Tricks for a Bug-Free Backyard and Garden ~ While insects are important in the chain of life, their buzzing and biting can ruin a backyard picnic. These 10 tips that will help you keep your yard bug-free this summer.

Choose Bug-Repellent Plants ~ Do yourself a favor while you’re planning your landscaping and mix in some bug-repellent plant varieties. Lavender, marigold, chrysanthemum, and lemongrass, among others, are all known to discourage a host of insects from mosquitoes to aphids.

Ban Standing Water ~ Standing water is the enemy in your battle against bugs, as it’s the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes. Make sure your gutters are unclogged and that any sunken areas in your yard are filled in so that water can’t collect. Even the water in the birdbath and kiddie pool should be regularly changed to prevent those little suckers from multiplying.

Build a Bat House ~ A single bat typically eats 6,000 to 8,000 insects in a night, so consider these nocturnal critters your superhero sidekicks in the fight against bugs. Bolster your bat population by building a bat house, and be glad to see them swooping through your yard at dusk.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Get Ready To Host Family and Friends This Summer With These Casual Porch and Patio Dining Ideas ~ Enjoying meals outside is just one of the many perks of summer. Open your mind and get inspired to create the perfect setting for a summer full of outside dining.

A rustic, farm-style table is paired with two white modern chairs and a contemporary outdoor love seat. A cool color palette of wood tones, white, and green make the three pieces work together and the juxtaposition of styles adds visual interest to the dining area.

A table topped with chalk paint gives adults and kids alike, a fun drawing surface while corbeled table legs bring a certain elegance to the mix. A color palette of charcoal gray, white, and brown keep this patio feeling sophisticated. A wiry chandelier gives the space a slightly vintage feel.

On this small porch, a slim folding table is paired with white wooden benches that allow for several people to share a meal. A painted black floor adds contrast to the white benches, railing, and siding of the house and a contemporary light fixture gives the space a candlelit glow at night.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Patriotic Party Ideas For Your Summer Holidays

Show off your red and white (dishtowel) and blue (hydrangeas). Fold a towel in half over a gallon-size zip-seal bag and cut the towel 1/8 inch larger than the bag. Staple the towel together along the sides; hang with clothespins; add water and flowers.

Betsy Ross would delight in this entryway festooned with her signature work. Simply stick mini flag toothpicks into a Styrofoam wreath until the wreath looks full. Top it off with a garland of flags clothes-pinned onto twine.

Soften outdoor chairs with no-sew pillow covers crafted from contrasting bandannas. Sandwich one cushion between two scarves, then join each corner together with a rubber band and hide bands with thin ribbon, as shown.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Do You Grow or Wilt in the Difficult Times?

“These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold...” 1 Peter 1:7

Let's face it, the world we live in isn't always sunshine and rainbows. Each one of us face difficulties and naturally some are worse than others but how we react is the bottom we wilt or grow during these seasons? One thing we have to realize is that God is not going to deliver us from every difficulty ...... He is not going to keep us from every challenge because if He did, we would never grow. The Scripture says, “Our faith is tried in the fire of affliction.” When you’re facing a difficult time, change your thinking a wilting mentality to a growing mentality because this time is an opportunity for your faith to shine.

Anybody can get negative and bitter, blame God, or lose their passion ~ that’s an easy option because of our humanness! However,  if we want to pass the test, if we want God to take us to a new level, we cannot be a wilting, weakling, instead we’ve got to be a warrior.  We have to dig our heels in and say like Paul, “I can handle it. I’m ready for it. I’m equal to it. I know God is still on the throne. He is fighting my battles, and on the other side of this difficulty is a new level of my destiny!”

If we will just hold our faith and choose to grow rather than wilt during the difficult times, we will come out looking and smelling like the rose God intends us to be.

Father, thank You for refining me and growing my faith. I choose to stand strong in the midst of difficulty. I choose to bless You no matter what my circumstances are. I trust that You are leading and guiding me in paths of righteousness for Your name’s sake in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Whimsical Landscaping Design Ideas

Spell It Out
Being whimsical is all about being fun, fresh, and festive. In this garden display, tin letters deliver a welcoming message for plants and visitors alike. Note how the arrangement of the letters emphasizes the waterfall-like flow of the container plantings. Design Tip: Whimsical messages can elicit smiles. Make your own from tin, plastic, wood, or other weatherproof letters. Or scour flea markets for old signs that suit your sensibilities.

Add a Focal Point
Part of getting motivated to incorporate your own whimsical landscaping design ideas is figuring out how to use items as vignettes to draw the eye or create a focal point. Repetition of similar pieces is one visual trick; here, a grouping of old watering cans, tilted in the same direction, adds a fun, festive face to a shed wall. Design Tip: Create motion in your display by giving things a tilt. These watering cans look ready to douse the nearest bloom and, as a result, imply a sense of motion.

Find Cool Planting Places
Repurposed items such as bathtubs, toilets, and cinder blocks are great for container gardens. They're also unexpectedly striking garden accents that are sure to draw smiles. Use them for growing vegetables, edible flowers, and culinary herbs to add to your harvest. More Ideas: Fill up bicycle baskets, toolboxes, jugs, galvanized containers, buckets, ceramic bowls, old pots, and enamel tubs.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Don't Let Spring Get Away From You ~ Change Any Space With A Pop Of Color To Brighten Your Home for the Season

Powerful pink
Sometimes what makes an accent color successful is simply sheer surprise. Hot pink isn't typically found in a kitchen, and for that matter neither is a pink refrigerator. The two shades of pink turn a very neutral, hard-edged space into a more energizing spot.

New traditional
“Yellow is happy,” says artist and My Old Country House blogger Lesli DeVito, “and it doesn’t take itself too seriously.” This sunshine hue, her husband’s favorite, injects a dose of fun into the formal dining room and has a way of taking years off of a traditional armchair.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Cheers for the Red, White, and Blue ~ Treats for you Memorial Day and July 4th Party

Pretzel Sparklers
Like most sparklers, these are extinguished after a short while -- with several large bites. To make two dozen, place 4 ounces chopped semisweet chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Stir occasionally until melted; remove from heat. Using a pastry brush, coat the upper third of each pretzel rod in chocolate. Cover with sprinkles; stand pretzels upright in a glass. Place in the refrigerator until firm, about 5 minutes.

Patriotic Parfaits
Layered into mini canning jars and easy to make ahead, they're party-ready treats.
1/4 cup(s) sugar
1/4 cup(s) water
1 cup(s) blueberries
1 tablespoon(s) fresh lemon juice
1 cup(s) heavy cream
10 ounce(s) angel food cake, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 cup(s) strawberries, hulled and chopped
1/2 cup(s) shredded coconut, sweetened and toasted
8 (8 ounces each) canning jars
In 1-quart saucepan, stir together sugar and water. Heat to boiling on high, stirring occasionally; stir in blueberries and lemon juice. Remove from heat. Let cool completely.
In large bowl, with mixer on medium speed, whip cream until soft peaks form. Gently fold in cooled blueberry mixture.
Place a single layer of angel food cake on bottom of 1 canning jar. Top with 2 tablespoons strawberries, then 2 tablespoons blueberry whipped cream. Repeat layering of cake, strawberries, and whipped cream. Repeat with remaining 7 jars. Serve immediately, or replace screw caps and refrigerate up to 1 day. Before serving, top each parfait with 1 tablespoon coconut.