Compost Yourself

 

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Notice anything different kitchen-wise from the post two days ago?  Let me help with a side-by-side comparison!

Hiding next to the sink is this little cutie!

photo (16)We’ve started to compost!

What does that mean, exactly?  We now save the majority of our food scraps (and some other goodies) in the above ceramic bucket from World Market.  I chose that particular compost container because it blends in so well with the countertops, and it received excellent reviews online.  Plus, it was only $14.99 to boot!  Can’t beat the price!

Even though it’s small, the countertop bucket doesn’t fill up for a good 3 to 4 days, at which point we then take it outside to put it in our giant composter:

image (49)We’ve “hidden” the compost on the side of the house in a bunch of weeds so that it is not blatantly obvious (it’s not unattractive, but it doesn’t exactly match the house).

image (48)Sidenote: please check out how old that central air unit is!  Crazy, huh??

We went with the Suncast Tumbler composter because of its portability.  When we move out of this rental, we’d like to be able to hose the composter down and move it with us.  Because we were specifically looking for one that could be moved, we were slightly limited in options, and ended up shelling out $98.  However, there are so many composters on the market, and you can find one much more reasonable!  If you live in a house, I suggest looking at making your own out of a few pallets.  Or you can simply buy one of these outdoor composters (hover over each picture for pricing):

And if you live in an apartment, you might want to consider keeping one of these around (they can be kept indoors!):

Basically, the cliff notes of composting is that there are things you can compost and things you cannot.

Compostable items include:

Table scraps

Fruit and vegetable scraps

Chicken/rabbit manure

Coffee grounds

Tea leaves

Grass clippings

Garden plants

Lawn & garden weeds

Flowers, cuttings

Seaweed and kelp

Eggshells

Leaves

Straw or hay

Pine needles

Wood ash

Cardboard

Corn cobs, stalks

Dryer lint

Wood chips

Sawdust

Non-compostable items include:

Meat, fish, animal fats and bones

Fatty foods (dairy products, sauces, salad dressing, cooking oil)

Newspapers/office paper

BBQ ashes

Dog/cat poo (this is a big frowny face :-( for us…)

Plants that have gone to seed or are diseased

Salted foods

Black Walnuts

Doesn’t it feel good to help the planet?!

Xo, Laura

Did you love this post?  If so, check out the following related links!

4 Urban Composting Ideas (fullbloomhydroponics.net)
Maintaining Proper Airflow in Compost (wegotleaves.wordpress.com)
Organic Composting Ideas You Should Try (fullbloomhydroponics.net)
Composting 101 (greenlilies.com)
Composting is the New Cool (kitchenwarenews.wordpress.com)

Hand-Me-Downs

I had an incredibly productive afternoon despite Mike being away!

I like to get my cooking/baking done when Mike is away, so that I have ready-made meals to pull out of the fridge when I’d rather spend time with him than cook (which is pretty much always…).  Up today was banana bread.  I used a recipe I’d found online, but modified it a scooch, since I used frozen bananas I’d thrown in the freezer sometime last month, Smart Balance Light instead of butter, Splenda instead of sugar, and 2.5 teaspoons baking powder since I was out of baking soda.  It came out absolutely delicious, and I had an extremely difficult time putting it away to share with Mike!

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While the bread was baking, I started a few projects around the house.  And I worked hard to get all of the items from my old apartment and everything from Mike’s childhood home incorporated into our home together.  We were so lucky to get such amazing home goods from his parents!  Some of them include: a laundry hamper, a medley of frames, a workbench with circular saw, and new storage containers for my yarn.

But my favorites include a set of wicker lawn furniture,

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two wicker baskets for under-the-bed blanket storage,

image (10)and a beautiful cluster of succulents!

image (7)Phoebe was very opinionated about certain items.  She obviously prefers the lawn gnome

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Look at her running to her gnome love!

And is pretty upset that I switched out “her” body pillow at the foot of the bed

image (8)for two vintage vanity stools.

image (9)The stools are in rough shape at the moment, with scuffed wood based, wobbly gold feet, and worn/stained velvet cushion.  They need to be painted and reupholstered… but in the meantime, they look pretty darling with a $5 Ikea faux sheepskin throw on them.

What are some of your favorite family hand-me-downs?

–Laura

Go Away, Rain (for the Fathers!)

I had big outdoor plans for today involving weeding areas in the front and side yard that have reached the point of being out of control.

It looks like it’s supposed to stop raining soon, so hopefully I’ll be able to get outdoors and take care of this weed situation.  But I’ve got a back-up list of things to accomplish indoors, as well.  We’ll see how many of them I am able to take care of today:

  • The living/dining area needs to be re-arranged before I can present it to you.  It does look a little different at the moment, but here’s a super embarrassing pic to show you what it started off like yesterday: image (20)
  • Speaking of which, that back wall needs one more coat of paint, especially in the grooves.
  • I hate this fireplace situation.  I’d love to remove the tacky gold cover and clean out the inside.  I very much doubt we’ll ever use the fireplace, but if we wanted to in the winter, we could just put the gold tackiness back in place. photo (11)
  • If I find myself with a big chunk of free time, I’d like to attempt to make some easy-on-the-tummy homemade dog food.  Both of the dogs have been a little out of sorts without Mike, and I’m worried that Gus isn’t feeling well.  It’d be nice to be able to feed him the doggie equivalent of chicken soup and toast.  I found a great starting point on Happy Herbivore.  The dogs aren’t vegetarians at the moment, but I think going this route for a few days might help get their digestive tracks back on, er, track (where’s a thesaurus when you need one?).  This will also be a test run to see if I have the energy to make their food all the time, which I think would save us money, but I’d need to crunch the numbers a little more.
  • I’d like to get my printer up and running so that I can do some couponing!  Hopefully this will help out with the homemade dog food plan.
  • All of our rugs are super slippery and we constantly trip over the corners in the upstairs hallway.  image (18)So I’d love to make a no-slip grip bottom for them. We’ll see if Martha Stewart knows what she’s talking about.
  • My closet/craft room needs to be organized, as does Mike’s closet, as does our bedroom, which looks like a college dorm room at the moment.  Phoebe is either chasing her tail or checking out her own butt.image (17)

So there’s the list!  I’ll keep you updated today how far I get.   But before I go, I’d like to wish a very Happy Father’s Day to my dad – the greatest dad I could have ever asked for, and the world’s best beekeeper!  Here he is with my nephew a year and a half ago, and back in March, teaching Mike how to start a hive.

And happy Father’s Day to my brother-in-law, Matt!  On Father’s Day last year, he returned from Kuwait.  It was a very happy reunion for his family, and I hope today is just as happy for them!

Kelsey Dyer Photography

Kelsey Dyer Photography

Happy Father’s Day to all you other dads out there!  :-)

–Laura

I’m a Succa for Succulents (& GIVEAWAY!)

Wake up and enjoy the plant puns!  (Also, scroll to the bottom for our first giveaway!)

I’ve always been a fan of succulents.  I love the fact that they are so easy to take care of, and I especially love the succulents that multiply themselves, like hen and chicks.  If you don’t believe me, just look back at my post from last month, where I reveal that I had just bought a few cacti relatives at a plant sale while still living at the old apartment.

But what you probably don’t know is that the front yard of our new house is just teeming with hen and chick families:

photo (5)That black pole is our lamp post, which is probably 6 inches in diameter.  So it really illustrates how many of these things we have growing in our yard… hundreds.

I’ve already got plans to spread these out to fill in some of the grass-less areas in the backyard.  And I’d love to make a living wreath like the one I saw on the blog Pretty Prudent.  But in the meantime, I did something super simple that I thought I would share with you guys.  I re-potted some as gifts.

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Yesterday was a rough day for me, since my car was still at the dealership getting a new tire and a rim (there was apparently some impact damage, most likely from a pot-hole),  and I therefore had no way of getting to and from work.  So imagine how grateful I was when two of my co-workers offered to help me out and give me a lift to and from the office!  I wanted to do something nice for them to say thanks, but money is a bit tight lately (especially with my money-guzzling car).  So I looked around my house to see what I could give them.  Each gift was super simple to make:

  1. I had some tiny terracotta planters laying around, but I wanted something a little bit more office-friendly.  I was worried about the pots being in high-traffic areas at work and potentially breaking, so I figured plastic would be the best route.  I didn’t have anything like that at home, so I headed to the garden section in Target.  Unfortunately, the planters (like this one) had been totally picked over, so I started wandering the store in a disappointed trance.  I happened to stumble upon the dining section, where I found 2 tiny dark blue plastic condiment bowls.  The best part was the price… 99 cents for two.
  2. Arriving back at the house, I stepped out of my car and immediately plucked two decently sized succulents out of the ground.  I didn’t really give too much thought to which ones I picked since by nature, hen and chick succulents look very symmetrical.  I just picked two that were big enough to fill up the bowl, but small enough that they still had room to grow.
  3. I would have used dirt from our backyard except that I had some leftover potting soil already waiting in the sun room.
  4. In order to pot each succulent, all I did was throw some dirt in each of the new bowls, add one plant to each, and finally pack more dirt down around the edges.  Then I watered it slightly and cleaned up the edges of the bowl with a damp paper towel.  I had read online that succulents thrive on a mixture of sand and coffee grounds, but my yard’s abundance of mini cacti are actually growing in straight-up dirt, so I thought the two  little guys would feel most at home in plain old soil.  I didn’t want to shock them by changing their environment too much.
  5. Lastly, I ripped two pretty pages of card stock out of a sample book I already had from a few years ago.  I folded them in half and penned personalized thank you notes inside to make a card, and viola: the gift was complete.

Here’s the finished project once again (so you don’t have to scroll back up):

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And since the only things I actually purchased were the bowls, each gift only cost me $0.50!  Forking over less dough doesn’t mean I am any less grateful for my co-workers help yesterday; it just means I am super broke right now so had to put more creativity into a thoughtful gift.

Continuing the graditude: because I am so thankful that you’ve visited my website and read this post, I’d like to offer one of you readers a freebie!  Namely, your very own DIY succulent kit!  Comment on this post with the word “SUCCULENT” for your chance to win 2 hen and chicks, along with 2 plastic bowls and enough bagged potting soil for planting (water not included, obvi).  Since I will be sending live plants through the USPS, this giveaway is limited to entrants living within the United States.  The contest closes at 11:59 pm on Sunday, June 9, and I will randomly pick the lucky recipient at that time.  So get commenting for your chance to win!

–Laura