Archive | April, 2011

Spring Break

27 Apr

Ladies and gents, I’m taking a two-week hiatus here on the blog, but I plan to come back from my Spring Break with some fun posts, new projects around the house, and hopefully lots of great new drawings. See you then!

Composting

25 Apr

I’m not sure why, but I used to be kind of intimidated by composting. I thought it would be complicated and expensive to set up or that it would take a lot of time to maintain, but once I got started I discovered how amazingly easy and truly low-maintenance it is. I started with these basic instructions—just nine steps—and set up my composting bin in about 30 minutes for around $5.

The only cost was the $5 (or so) I spent on a 24-inch-tall plastic bin. (A bin that’s 24 inches or taller is recommended so you can easily stir the compost and add new materials.) I drilled eight holes in the bottom of the bin, eight in the top, and a few in the sides.


I then filled the bin one-fourth of the way full with shredded newspaper (that was the most time-consuming part of the process), shoveled dirt from the yard on top of that filling it half full, and put it in our shed in the backyard. I sprayed it with a bit of water so it would be moist but not soaking wet.

The moisture level in your compost is really important—you don’t want it to be too dry or too wet. If it’s too wet, the excess water inhibits the microorganisms in the compost from breaking down the added food scraps and yard clippings, but these microorganisms do need some water to operate so you don’t want it too dry either. Does that sound complicated? It really isn’t.

Here’s the basics: If your compost bin starts leaking water, begins to smell, or looks really wet, then add in drier materials like leaves, weeds, or grass clippings to absorb some of the moisture and hold off adding any wet materials like banana peels, tea bags, or tomato scraps until your bin looks back to normal. You could also place your bin in the sun to warm it up and help some of the moisture evaporate. If your compost starts looking dry or dusty, add the wetter materials or spray it with a little water and hold off adding the drier ones. It might take a few days to get things back to the right consistency. Just give it time. Here’s what ours looks like at the moment:

We keep a small garbage can next to our larger one to collect food and material that can be composted. I try to include a variety of materials so the moisture level is a mix of dry and wet (banana peels, onion and garlic scraps, tea bags, corn husks, dead flowers, leaves, egg shells). When adding it to the compost bin, I first stir the compost to aerate it and then pile it to one side…


…add in the scraps…

…and cover them completely with dirt.

That last step is key. Exposed scraps won’t break down as quickly and can also start to smell.

There are tons of different composting methods (go here to learn about a few more of them), but I found this was an easy and unintimidating way to get started. All the steps and tips I’ve mentioned above are the methods I’ve found work for us and keep us composting.

Have any of you tried composting? What methods or tips have you found helpful?

Obsessed with Iceland

21 Apr

As I’ve mentioned before, Iceland is one of those places that I’m becoming more and more intrigued by with each passing week, and now after seeing Kris Atomic’s latest pictures, I might be full-on obsessed. I must visit sooner rather than later. Here are two of my favorite images from her latest batch.



All of those vivid colors are seriously amazing. For the full story and the rest of her gorgeous pictures of Iceland, go here.

All images courtesy of Kris Atomic.

Cartwheels

18 Apr

I pretty much had a total freakout when I opened this:

Seriously, I had just been gushing about how much I love this desk, and my generous sister and brother-in-law bought it for us as a wedding gift. Needless to say, I did nothing when I got home except put this desk together and admire it…and then I did some cartwheels in the backyard.

Our Garden

13 Apr

This weather in north central Alabama was gorgeous this past weekend, so we spent a majority of our Saturday planting our vegetable garden—55 plants total (tomatoes, bell peppers, basil), which doesn’t include the jalapeños, habeñeros, and corn that we still have yet to plant. Here’s what we’ve got so far:

That little tilled square in the back of the garden is for the corn. Planting it in rows at least 4 plants wide x 4 plants long is supposed to help it grow better with the help of cross-pollination.

This is the third year we’ve had a vegetable garden and each year it gets bigger and bigger—our garden this year is easily six or seven times the size of our first garden three years ago. For comparison, we had eight tomato plants our first year, 16 our second year, and this year we have 30. The abundance of tomatoes from last year’s garden and the subsequent hours I spent in the kitchen making marinara sauce was the inspiration for this drawing:

This is how the kitchen looked pretty much all summer. I’ll be doing it again this year in a much bigger way. I hope our freezer is ready.

We planted some blackberries and a peach tree that first year and now have a large and rather wild-looking blackberry bush (you can see it in the top left of the picture below) and a tree that currently has some baby peaches growing. It won’t produce this year, but it’s on its way. This year, we transplanted a handful of fig trees to our yard that a friend generously cut and rooted for us.

We keep things as organic as possible and don’t use any pesticides. We also compost, which has proven to be a very easy process. I’ll share how I set ours up in a separate post. It’s inexpensive and supereasy.

Dreaming of a Desk

7 Apr

I’ve had this image in my head for awhile now, so I spent some time drawing this in my sketchbook to give my ideas visual form—and make them ever so slightly more real. It’s the artsy space that I’m dreaming of having some day.

(I’m still obsessed with the West Elm parsons desk in polished white. It’s probably more on my brain than ever after I saw it again in a store last weekend. Simple! So much desk space! The finish! Etc!)

A Colorful Welcome

5 Apr


I love coming upon a door in an unexpected color, shape, or combination of both. The burst of energy at an entrance is a lovely welcome.