guest blog: home grown garden

Hi guys!  It’s tough to get back into a routine after all of the crazy planning, DIYing, traveling, and general wedding festivities.  And I’d be lying if I didn’t admit I’m doing a lot of staring at my dress and trying to figure out how and when I can wear it again.  I posted a picture of it earlier this week on facebook if you want to check it out.  There will certainly be more sharing here once I wrap my head around everything!  I’m already working on a post about our trip to Brimfield so check in early next week for lots of vintage eye candy.

Until then I have another special guest today from who is stopping by to discuss the health benefits of gardening – a favorite topic of mine behind all things vintage of course.  As I posted recently, we’ve taken on a much healthier eating routine since Ryan’s MS diagnosis.  No surprise here but eating healthy has made us feel great!  Since that post, we’ve also joined a CSA and planted our own veggie garden.  We’re about to purchase a juicer as well!  (I’m still doing research so if you have any juicer feedback, can you leave it in the comments please?)

Valerie Johnston is a health and fitness writer located in East Texas. With ambitions of one day running a marathon, writing for ensures she keeps up-to-date on all of the latest health and fitness news.

Today Valerie is sharing tips on planting your own healthy garden…

You may have the best proof of your actions in the care and maintenance of your diet and physical fitness.  You eat the right foods and you have a dedicated exercise regimen.  You and your mirror agree: you are the picture of health.  Even though there are splurges for birthdays and the holiday season, you know you will soon be back on track; your history proves it.  Surely, there is nothing more that would improve that picture.  You even know there will come a time when both diet and exercise must make adjustments for the inevitable decline of your body.  Aging comes to all of us.  If you feel this way, congratulations!  You are on the summit and there is no reason why you cannot stay there.

However, if you think there is nothing left to do, raise your hand anyway.  Teachers appreciate enthusiasm.  There is something so simple and beneficial, you are going to slap your forehead: that famous commercial vegetable juice can be made fresh instead of drinking processed juice: plant and grow a vegetable and fruit garden.

Harvest Your Own Health Garden

For as much as you have learned about diet and fitness, is there any doubt that consuming fresh fruits and vegetables will yield greater benefit than their processed, packaged and purchased counterparts from the grocery store?  Even if fresh, how long have those broccoli spears been lying in their tray in the grocery store with daily doses of water spray?  Face it; the only way you are going to assure freshness is if you have harvested yourself and have prepared the meal within minutes of transition from dirt to plate.

garden harvest

But we are far ahead of ourselves.  First, it may be necessary to clear an area in the yard currently dedicated to something else.  If it is a weed patch, there is no argument.  If it happens to be your prized Japanese garden, pick another location in the yard.  The right location will need full sunlight exposure all day long; under a shade tree will not suffice.  Your garden size is dictated by family size, types of vegetables chosen and available space you are willing to devote to the garden.  You may need to modify your current irrigation system to accommodate the more demanding needs of a vegetable garden.  Once determined, clear the ground of existing vegetation and till it thoroughly.  You want loose soil up to a foot deep.  If you do not own a tiller, you may have a friend who does, or most home and garden centers have them for rent.

Purchase an inexpensive soil test kit that will measure existing soil conditions of pH (alkaline or acidic condition), nitrogen, phosphorus and potash, essential elements to assure a bountiful harvest.  Treat the soil according to test results and lay down a layer of steer manure and till all of this fully into the soil.


The garden layout is going to be dictated by your plant choices; it is best to put a bird’s eye plan on paper.  You planting schedule is going to be dictated by the map of your planting zone.  Back at the home and garden center in March or April, you have a choice of a plethora of seeds, or seedlings ready to plant in the garden.  Follow planting instructions.  Cultivate and weed frequently so that all soil nutrients go where they’re needed.  Harvest according to instructions.

Sustainable Gardening

There is another benefit beyond the advantage of eating your own fresh vegetables:  this is going to require physical labor; always a healthful benefit.

thanks and a fall wreath

First of all can I just start by telling you how incredibly moved I am by all of your support and sweet feedback on Wednesday’s post about Ryan’s diagnosis?

Seriously moved over here.

Social media has become a very powerful tool.  As I wrote about us, reviewed it, re-reviewed it, hesitated to post it, I just hoped that a positive message would be transmitted.  We basically want to take something that we are already doing and that is well-liked and make a contribution with it.  So thank you all for your enthusiasm in this fundraiser!  It truly means a lot to us.

Now how do I follow that up with a fall wreath?

Well here it is.  A mini Indian corn wreath.

In January, after we removed the holiday Douglas fir wreaths from our windows, we saved the metal wreath forms.  They look something like this.

I pulled a few out to make mini Inidian corn wreaths.  You can buy clusters of the Indian corn at just about any Farmer’s Market this time of year.  I laid clusters of 2-3 cobs in between each prong, overlapping one after another.  The corn covers the mechanics of the prongs.

The prongs close over the stalks while adding rustic fall texture.

And of course it wouldn’t be complete without a bow!  I went with a simple 4 loop bow.  The ribbon I used is like a combination of burlap and raffia.  It can be found at flowers shops.  I also looped the ribbon throughout the wreath.

Indian corn can be really brittle to work with.  It naturally wants to disconnect from the stalks so hot glue may be necessary for keeping it in tact.  I wouldn’t recommend hanging this wreath outside.  It will be gone in no time since the squirrels love Indian corn.  Definitely hang it behind a storm door or indoors!

harvest party preview

Hello there!  After taking a late summer break from our Brick & Mortar shop, I’ve been super busy gearing up for this weekend’s Harvest Party.  This is sure to be the best yet.  We’ll be greeting the first day of fall on Saturday.   The shop will be packed with the warmth and comforts that make this time of year so spectacular…fresh flowers, pumpkins, cozy blankets, door decor and vintage farmhouse style.

Joining us this month is Spotted Horse Textiles.  Speaking of vintage farmhouse style…theirs is amazing!  Spotted Horse Textiles specializes in upholstered antique furniture using authentic German and French grain sacks.

We’ll be featuring this stunning antique wing chair upholstered in a cow graphic grain sack and a coordinating grazing ram footstool.  This weekend only, we’ll be offering a special Harvest Party price on the duo.  In addition, lots of other antique goodies from Spotted Horse Textiles will be in store.

And of course we’ll be stocking some of our favorites like joefivecents one of a kind jewelry, our own mason jar soap dispensers and Open Eyes Press tea towels.

Harvest Party – Saturday & Sunday 10 am – 6 pm

1814 Valley Forge Road Worcester, PA (at Center Point Pond)

Our neighbors at The Frock Shoppe will be open as well!  I hear they’ve got some new fall frocks in store.  I can’t wait to check them out!  The Frock Shoppe is a charitable venture raising money for local causes through The Nottage Project.

For those of you waiting patiently for Miss Mustard Seed’s milk paint to arrive, we’re told it will be shipped any day now.  Unfortunately it won’t be in stock for the Harvest Party but stay tuned!

And for my friends that are not local, I’ll be sure to post pictures and harvest styling ideas so you don’t miss out!  More projects coming next week…

a vintage seed packet

Happy Monday!  I spent last week recharging creatively and I have lots to share with you this week and next!  Woo hoo!  I did quite a bit of antiquing, painting and just generally reflecting on what’s in store for this little business and blog of mine.  Plus the weather ended up being quite lousy, rainy and humid most of the week driving me to stay indoors…until yesterday when I captured this beautiful monarch on my butterfly bush.

Anyway, you didn’t come here for a weather report so onto the project!

I have had a slight infatuation with vintage seed packs for a few years now.  The graphics are always gorgeous.  Although I’ve never actually collected or done anything more than admire them.  I mean how many collections can one person have, ya know?  I decided a few weeks ago that I really wanted to paint a large reproduction of a seed packet and maybe even create a series of these seed packs.  Well, I completed the first one!

Sunflowers have always been a favorite of mine so I thought that was a good packet to start with plus the red sunflowers seem quite appropriate for harvest season here.  My “canvas” was a salvaged oval table top.  I like how the oval shape allowed the words to run off the “page”.  I used all Annie Sloan Chalk Paints and mixed colors and waxes.

This seed packet was my exact muse for the project.

You didn’t think I could freehand that, did you?  What I did was project the seed packet onto the wood and sketched it in chalk.  Then I mixed my paints and really got creative painting my chalk template.  This was a very fulfilling project for me!  I want to do a pumpkin seed pack next…

I’ll leave you with this picture I took while dining alfresco last night in the city.  The sun setting behind the buildings really lit up the sky in a fiery way.  It looks like there is a blaze in the sky or behind the building.  And I love ginkgo trees which made a subtle appearance in the photo.

How was your weekend?


Linking to Elizabeth & Co.