DIY Decorative Engraved Stepping Stones – Easy Peasy!

diy-engraved-stepping-stones

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I. Love. Rocks.

I don’t mean diamonds, although they’re pretty cool, too. I’m talkin’ about dirt rocks kind of rocks.

We have a 3,628 pound boulder that I had turned into a bubbling boulder. Need I say more?

Here are links to all the posts in the DIY bubbling boulder series:

  1. The Bubbling Boulder Unveiling
  2. Bubbling Boulder – The Price Tag
  3. 6 Tips When Shopping for a Bubbling Boulder
  4. Bubbling Boulder: Choosing the Location
  5. Bubbling Boulder – Digging the Pit
  6. Before-Bubbling-Boulder-Delivery Prep Work

To dress up the bubbling boulder area, I had a local mom and pop stone engraving company do a sandblast engraving on a separate stone that reads, “Holly’s Hollow” and a couple critters engraved onto the stone. (I think the words might have been engraved with something like a dremel or drill, but the critters were sandblasted.)

Then there’s all the river rock, the large feather rocks, the stepping stones from our driveway to our front porch, and a couple little rocks with critters (a frog and a lizard) sandblasted onto them.

AND, I recently came across a to-die-for stone outdoor living space and STONE SOFA!

Okay, I think I’ve made my point: I like rocks.

Liking rocks as I do, I thought it’d be a neat project to do some personal stone engraving. However, I don’t have a sandblaster, nor would I know how to use one, BUT I do have … a dremel. :) (Actually, it’s John’s dremel, but he shares. He’s nice like that.)

I wasn’t sure if a dremel would even work for this kind of thing, but it was worth a try.

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DIY Easy Fence Gate

DIY-Fence-Gate

The year John installed our garden fence, we were in a hurry. We didn’t think it was a good idea to plant more tomatoes until we had a fence up, since the deer had just finished plucking three young tomato plants right out of the ground, ate pretty much everything except the vine, and then dropped the vines on the ground. “All done. Thanks for dinner.” ;)

We needed a fence gate FAST.

John quickly threw this together as a temporary gate. It’s not glamorous, but it does what it was meant to do: opens, closes, and keeps critters out.

While we use this as a garden gate, it could also be used as an animal fence gate. It would need one more latch, a middle latch, if it were to be relied on for that purpose.

Since we did not take photos during the gate construction, hopefully these photos are mostly self-explanatory.

Here’s what you’ll need to do to build a gate like this:

  1. Wrap your fencing around the corner post.
  2. With wire cutters, at the very end of what will be the gate, remove the ends of the horizontal fence wires. This will actually remove the vertical section.
  3. Cut a board the same height as the gate.
  4. Drill holes in the board. Space the holes according to the fence wire spacing.
  5. Feed the horizontal fence wires through the board holes. Wrap the wires around the board, and twist the wires as seen in the photo.
  6. First Latch (top hook): Bend the very top wire to hook into the loop around the post.
  7. Second Latch (top loop): Drill a single hole (so the latch will pivot). Place a thicker aluminum wire through the hole; bend it over the board (see photo); and create a loop at the other end.
  8. Third Latch (bottom hook): Bend the very bottom wire to hook into the loop around the post.

Below are more photos.

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DIY Plant Markers

diy-plant-markers

I love adorable plant markers. I think the two types I like the most are spoon plant markers and stick plant markers with the plant names burned onto the end of the stick.

Seeing just how creative people can be, I wanted to think of something *on my own* (of course, God is the one who gives us good ideas) equally creative as the plant markers I mentioned.

I think the spoons are still my favorite, but I now have a tie for second place: the stick plant markers and miniature clay pot plant markers.

And for those who care nothing about adorable or cute, but you’re perfectly content with ugly plain, as long as it can be made in a matter of seconds, I’ve got something for you, too. :)

1. Miniature Clay Pot Plant Markers

I have to admit I was a little excited about this idea. However, my excitement was dampened when the cashier asked me what I was going to do with the cute little clay pots. After I explained I was going to make plant markers out of them, she went on to say that she knew exactly what I was talking about because she had seen some. Apparently I’m not the first person to have thought of this.

You’ll need the following items:

  1. Miniature Clay Pots ($0.59 ea.)
  2. Small Dish (for paint and water)
  3. White Wash Paint
  4. Water (just a little)
  5. Small Paint Brush
  6. Damp Rag or Paper Towel
  7. Paint Marker or Permanent Marker

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How to Make Your Own Seed-Starter Mix

seed-starter-mix

This post contains affiliate links.

If you live in an area that has cold and snowy winters, the best way to feel like winter is shorter than it really is or that spring is here before it really is is to start seeds indoors. You’ll observe seedlings emerge 4 to 6-ish weeks before you can place seeds in the ground.

Optimal seed-starter mix will allow for the following:

  1. Retention of Moisture
  2. Drainage of Excess Water
  3. Aeration
  4. Emergence of Seedlings (upward growth) and Penetration of Roots (downward growth)
  5. Nutrients
  6. Beneficial Microbes

Seed-Starter Mix Ingredients:

  • 6-8 Parts Pre-Soaked Organic Coir or Sphagnum Peat Moss
  • 1 Part Perlite
  • 1 Part Vermiculite
  • 1 Part Vermicompost or Compost

coirbrick

Sunleaves 100% Organic Classic Coco Coir Mulch-Soil Brick – Growing Media & Soil Alternative

(affiliate link)

Coir or Sphagnum Peat Moss

Probably the two most common mediums used for “soil”, moisture retention, and the “glue” that keeps everything together are coir and sphagnum peat moss. (Compost also has these characteristics.)

Coir is the by-product of coconut processing. Other names for coir are coco/coir peat, fiber, pith, or dust. You’ve probably picked up on the fact that “coco” is short for coconut NOT cocoa. :)

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How to Make a Suet Plug Bird Feeder

suet-plug-feeder_collage

I often pray for ideas for posts, and that’s how this post came about.

While strolling through Rural King (a home and garden store), I noticed the simplicity of the suet plug bird feeders and thought,

“Hmmm … this just looks like a 4-by-4 with some holes drilled through it and some angled cuts. … I bet I could make this, assuming John has the right tools and can walk me through a few things.”

It took me a second, but I realized God had just given me my next post idea. :)

John made a few practice cuts, walked me through how to use the power tools for this project, and then I was set free.

I told John I had to make EVERY cut myself (to provide a DIY post). There was even a moment when he walked over to graciously show me something when I abruptly said, “Don’t do it!” After telling me to take a chill-pill, :) he assured me he was not going to do anything to the board I was working on.

If you’d like to make a feeder like this, here’s how you do it.

First, don’t be intimidated by power tools. Of course, safely operating power tools is paramount. (Be sure a knowledgeable and experienced person walks you through how to safely use the tools.) My point is, I’ve rarely used a power tool, yet I was able to make this nifty little bird feeder. If I can you can!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  1. Safety Goggles
  2. Safety Gloves
  3. 4″ x 4″ Board (approx. 24″ long)
  4. Tape Measure
  5. Pencil
  6. Miter Saw
  7. Folding Workbench with Clamps
  8. Power Drill
  9. Spade Drill Bit 1-1/4 inch
  10. Optional: Sander
  11. Table Saw (Alternatives are described below.)
  12. Regular Drill Bit
  13. Eye Screw
  14. Optional: Water Sealer, Stain, or Paint

Step 1: Practice Cutting, Drilling, Etc. on a Scrap Board!!!

Practice with a scrap board. I learned from mistakes I made on my scrap board, which kept me from making them on my project board.

Step 2: Cut the Board

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How to Make a Gardening Yarn Wreath {Guest Post}

yarn-wreath

This post is a special post. It’s written by my best friend, Amber. Not only did she make this gorgeous wreath for me, but she also wrote the post as an extra surprise gift.

The wreath is NOT hanging outside where it can get rained on, but for some good natural lighting for taking photos, it stayed outside for a short photo session. :)

I think you’ll be surprised how easy it is – at least that’s how she makes it sound :) – to make such a beautiful wreath.

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When Holly suggested we make Christmas gifts for each other, I happily nodded and agreed, even though I was thinking, “Make something? I don’t own a sewing machine or even a hot glue gun. What can I make?!” Since then I’ve remedied the hot glue gun void – and boy do I LOVE it! … But, I digress.

I immediately knew that whatever I decided to make, I’d write a post for my (and your) gardening friend. It took weeks before an idea presented itself, but it finally did. While at a new friend’s home, I saw she had these beautiful wreaths hanging from doors and drapes. I thought for sure they were store-bought and was surprised (and thrilled) to hear they were homemade …. A homemade gift idea sprung to life.

Let’s get to it.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  1. Wreath (I used a foam one, but my friend uses the less expensive straw ones.)
  2. Yarn (It requires less than a skein – I learned a new term. :) )
  3. Felt
  4. Hot Glue Gun

Step 1: Wrap the Wreath

This is just as easy as it sounds. Tie off the yarn around the wreath and begin wrapping. Ensure you keep each wrap tight and close together to prevent sagging. Once you’ve fully wrapped the wreath, tie off the yarn and hide the knot. The whole wrapping process took me a little over an hour to complete.

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