Dreaming of Spring: Upcycled Gardening

There are daffodils everywhere along the trail I walk with the pup. I saw them this morning, ready to bloom, looking confused but happy in the sunshine. No one has told them that it’s February 3rd. The weather has been weird, and they think it’s spring. It does feel like spring, the sky blue and the weather balmy. I think I’m going to wait on the garden plans, though. In the meantime…I’m enjoying looking at sustainable gardening posts on other blogs. Here’s a round up of my favorites:

1. Gutter gardening seems sort of perfect for my townhouse lifestyle – I have a tiny back deck and am always looking for container gardening tips and ideas so that my little garden can grow up and not out. The site even has a helpful how-to, and a list of plants and vegetables that will grow well in this!

2. The cinder block garden from Apartment Therapy; another upcycled project. Who knew cinder blocks could look so cool?! I think it would be a heavy and unpleasant task finding this many cinder blocks and bringing them home, but then I think about how amazing they would look on our front enclosure, with shade plants in them.

The Modern DIY Succulent Garden, from Apartment Therapy

Bonus: here’s another one with a puppy! I’m tempted to show it to Arlo so that he, too, can daydream about a cinder block garden, and how adorable he would look napping in front of it:

Annette’s Modern DIY Garden, also from Apartment Therapy

3. Help your neighborhood birds build glorious nests. I think this idea is my favorite, because it’s so simple, and because she went to the trouble of double checking this idea with the Cornell Ornithology Department and the Audubon Society to make sure it was safe for the birds. Talk about going the extra mile! So this is the idea I’ll leave you with – what are you looking forward to about the springtime?

Birds Nest Yarn Hanger How-To from http://www.fiberfarm.com


Craigslist Makeover: Guest Room Edition

I felt a little bad about our bedroom makeover from earlier this year. After all, I bought a new bedframe at Ikea instead of getting one secondhand. Granted, it was cheap and it will last forever, but no more of that. Getting things second hand is a better fit with our values, and a bigger challenge….goodness knows I love a challenge. Fortunately, I can learn from this going forward. We happen to have a two bedroom house – one room is ours (featured in the bedroom makeover) and the other is a guest room/office/laundry room. Or it would be, if it didn’t look like this:

welcome to our pile of stuff

 Featured here is  a bed that came with the townhouse, a laundry basket full of stuff for the thrift store, art my mom gave us, a file cabinet as a nightstand with a yard sale scarf draped over it and a lamp from college, the cedar chest my husband built, packages of pet food, all of the papers I have yet to file scattered all over the bed, and a sleeping cat (she’s the black ball of fur on the left hand side of the bed). And over in the corner, a broken bedframe and some cabinet doors we need to rehang.

And across the room, we have these rather eclectic closets:

craft stuff, stuff to sell, a wedding dress, a graduation robe, goodness only knows what else

Christmas stuff, camping stuff, our washing machine...

And in between them, this bookshelf, piled with stuff we almost never look at:

wedding photos, books and binders from previous degrees, and more clutter

And finally, there’s my desk, backed by some seriously cat-furred curtains and topped with a sewing machine that I don’t use because I don’t know how (and I don’t own a sewing table):

ugly desk, ugly chair, and not such a great quality picture!

Don't judge. This is the last frontier between me and a minified house!

We are so classy….I’m almost embarassed to put this out there on the internet. But how will you appreciate the after pictures if I don’t let you see the before?

So now my reasons for giving the guest room a makeover are clear. Here’s the challenge: everything must be secondhand, and since we’re also trying to minimize our spending…I’ve set a budget of $0. Any money we spend will have to come from selling things we already own (we’ve got a big pile of stuff I’ve been intending to post on Craigslist or take to the consignment store – stored in that first closet). Also, any spare change I find in the process is fair game to spend (don’t laugh. I keep finding lost rolls of spare change as I clean out the guest room closets. I wouldn’t be surprised if we’re sitting on more than 50 dollars, and that can go a long way on Craigslist!) 

That, my friends, is the guest room makeover challenge in a nutshell! I think it’ll be fun. Many of my favorite blogs, from Young House Love to Apartment Therapy’s ReNest, use a lot of upcycled and reused furniture in great designs, so I know it can be done! I’ve already identified some priorities (a working bedframe seems like a good place to start, along with decluttering a LOT), but I think the joy of secondhand is that you never know what you’re going to find. It’s like a treasure hunt! So wish me luck, and I’ll keep you posted.