Part 1: How To Satisfy A Serious Gardener’s Itch But You Live In An Apartment

This post is Part 1 of 3 on how to satisfy a serious gardener’s itch but your dilemma is that you live in an apartment.  Here are three ideas to scratch that itch.

Butterfly garden in Lake County, FL where I did volunteer work.
Butterfly garden in Lake County, FL where I did volunteer work.

 

  1. You can become a master gardener.
  2. You can rent a community garden space, if your city offers this.
  3. And yes, you can garden in your apartment but just on a smaller scale. 

 

 


First, let me explain what is a serious gardener’s itch:

  • you love getting your hands dirty in soil; 
  • you love planting and watching plants grow; 
  • you can’t go near a garden center without buying a plant;
  • you watch gardening television and cable channels, read magazines and books on gardening;
  • you love planning and talking gardening with anyone that will listen; 
  • you love visiting and touring gardens;
  • you make it a point to know a beneficial bug from one that will destroy your plants; and finally,
  • you can’t imagine life without a garden–any kind, small or large, ornamental or edible.

Part 1 of this three part series is about becoming a master gardener.

Trust me, being a master gardener is one of the most proudest things you can do, not only for yourself but for your community.  I was a master gardener totaling 5-1/2 years over three different states.  The more I learned, the less I knew because there was always something new to learn.  Being a volunteer master gardener is both challenging and rewarding.  

Every county in the U.S. (hope I’m not overstating this) has a Master Gardener program as part of their horticultural extension program.  Activities and requirements may vary but basically they have the same goal:

Advise and educate the community in best practices for gardening and provide the latest information in horticulture.

Here’s how it works:

  • You submit an application to your county horticulture extension office.
  • Once accepted, generally you pay a fee to cover the books and materials you will receive.  This can be a bit expensive but the quality of the books and materials are well worth the cost.
  • You attend classes for about 3 weeks.  Topics cover an introduction to the program; a tour of the facilities; and most important, a wide and very thorough training on plants (ornamental and edible), planting guidelines, lawn care best practices; beneficial and harmful insects, and more.  Your education doesn’t stop with just that class but continues throughout your service through monthly meetings and seminars.
  • You graduate.  Often you are asked to volunteer in the various areas of the program for a certain amount of hours to learn how each area works.  After which you can just volunteer to work in a specific area or just continue to rotate and work in the different areas.
  • You are a trainee until you complete a certain amount of hours.  Then you become a full fledged volunteer.  You are expected to volunteer a certain amount of hours (generally 20 a month) to retain your status as a volunteer master gardener. 

Areas of service may vary but here are a few that tend to be consistent from one county to another: 

set up for the annual plant sale in Lake County FL - open to the public
set up for the annual plant sale in Lake County FL – open to the public
  • Answer questions from the public.  This is done in a variety of ways but is most often done through dedicated methods from answer a telephone hotline to working on the mobile units.
  • Work in one or more of the theme gardens from edibles to ornamentals to lawn care to even a bog.
  • Assist or even lead in annual or semi-annual events open to the public.  Activities can range from plant sales to garden exhibits to field trips to attending or conducting a seminar.

 

Field trip to the Butterfly Rain Forest at the University of Florida.  Did you spot the butterfly in this image?

The white butterfly:

Butterfly chrysalis

White and black butterflies emerging from chrysalis
White and black butterflies emerging from chrysalis

In Summary,

There are many bonuses to being a volunteer master gardener.  I’ve already a few above.  You also get work with groups of wonderful people and you’ll meet a wonderful side of the public.  The knowledge and experience you get, you can bring home to create a lovely garden in your apartment–and with less “crop” failure!  All the while, you’ll be satisfying that gardener’s itch while living in an apartment.

You’ll find lots of information on becoming a volunteer information on your county extension office website.  However, if you have any questions on what’s it like, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment or contact me.  I would love to share with you my wonderful experiences of having been a volunteer master gardener.

 

 

17 Light Airy Bedrooms With Ideas You Can Use

Whenever I see a light and airy bedroom, I can just feel the calmness oozing out all over myself.  They’re just so inviting and comforting.  But it’s not just the light pouring in from the windows that gives the feeling of peace and order, there other elements too.

Here are 19 examples of ideas you can use to create a light and airy bedroom–regardless of the amount of natural light you get.

brabourne farm
brabourne farm
  • Order in light airy bedrooms is one of elements of a peaceful feel.  Clutter is not allowed.  A half made bed suggests “rest and relaxation” but note here how everything else is in order.

pinterest
pinterest
lushome
lushome
  • White isn’t the only color element.  Soft pastels of almost any color can be used.

pinterest
pinterest
serena&lily
serena&lily
  • A slip cover sofa, lots of pillows and a light rug work beautifully here that adds to the large window and white walls, flooding the room with lightness.  But note too the darker accents.  Clearly, you don’t have to bleach the room in just white.

lushome
lushome
lushome
lushome
  • A tailored look with soft light colors can create a light and airy bedroom.  Note here how the turned-down sheet and comforter in white rests along with crisp ironed-white pillows that lay flat. 

tasuiq
tasuiq
  • Here’s a wonderful mixture of ornate period pieces in the chandelier and mirror contrasting to the slipcover chairs and a modern platform bed and side table.  Note the soft blond colors of the furnishings to tone down the bright white in the rest of the room. 

creativexhome 
creativexhome 
  • Again, white need not dominate the room.  Just use soft and pastel colors.

home portfolio
home portfolio
home portfolio
home portfolio
bulktrash on tumblir
bulktrash on tumblir
  • You can warm up the room with deeper colors if used sparingly.

decozilla
decozilla
decozilla
decozilla
houzz
houzz
  • Note the use of texture, shapes and of course shapes in the furniture in this nearly all white light and airy bedroom.

rilane
rilane
  • A mirror, particularly a very large mirror, is a great accessory to use to reflect more light into a room.

tuvalu
tuvalu

Admittedly, there are lots of apartment bedrooms that get little natural light.  While it can be difficult to create a light and airy room, it’s not impossible.  Here’s a recap of elements to create a light airy bedroom even in a dark bedroom  ( This almost sounds like an oxymoron!) .  

  1. White walls.  Use a paint color that DOES NOT have a gray hue, preferably a pink or blue.  It would be best to test white paint on the walls and observe at different times of the day.  Most, if not all, paint manufacturers describe on their color charts the undertone color of the white paint.  Does it go without saying, be cognizant of when and how the sun comes into the room?
  2. White sheets is a definite.  You can use pastel colors in other elements from blankets, to a duvet to window treatment, to chairs, etc.
  3. Add as little or none if possible window treatment.  But if you must have draperies, keep them light in color.
  4. Remember, clutter in a light and airy bedroom doesn’t make it so.  It’ll just be a light room with a lot of visual-interfering stuff!
  5. If you don’t get much natural light, be sure to add lots of artificial lighting such as a crystal chandelier, bed side and wall lights. Use daylight bulbs.
  6. A mirror is a great way to get reflected and ,of course, more light into the room.
  7. Try to stay away or at least limit using dark wood furniture.
  8. If you feel like you really need more color, remember a pop of color in accenting will do the job.

Although I love bedrooms with a light airy feel, I’m stuck with dark wood furniture, even a head and foot board.  My remedy will be to make light-quilted covers for them but continue to expose the beautiful turned-wood posts.  Window treatments will be added to help lighten up the room and probably a white shag area rug.

In short, anything is possible with just a bit of creative thinking.  Love those bedroom styles?  Get inspired, get creative, then do it!  But do let me know what you decide.  Would love to chat with you about your final project.  Send me a photo.  I’ll post it too!

19 Outrageously Fun Bookshelves

Even a book nerd would look up from a book to enjoy any one of these outrageously fun bookshelves.  Every apartment home deserves some levity, such as these imaginative yet very functional bookshelves.  

pinterest
pinterest
imgfav
imgfav
imgur
imgur
buzzfeed
buzzfeed
flavorwire
flavorwire
pouted
pouted
pouted
pouted
homedit
homedit
homedit
homedit
homedit
homedit
media book hub
media book hub
media book hub
media book hub
dose
dose
batman bookcase found on dose
batman bookcase found on dose
dose
dose

These next three outrageously fun bookshelves were found on Cuded.com where there are many more.

cuded
cuded

Finally, I’m not so sure that this diamond pattern bookshelf should be called outrageously fun.  I react to it with the kind of smile one gets when you’re looking at sheer class.  The dark slate blue says serious reads here but the irregular placement of the books says, “Don’t be afraid.”  I like it, a lot.

luxury accommodation blog
luxury accommodation blog

I’m curious.  What kind of outrageously fun bookshelf would
you put in your apartment?  Or would you?

Decorative Throw Pillows On Sale! Change Out Your Covers!

You may be looking around your apartment and thinking how drab it had become.  You decide you need color, color and more but you don’t want to paint the walls.  A new sofa is not in the plan.  And you’re not ready to commit to a big decorating project.  Hey, add some decorative throw pillows.  Whether or not you already have too many throw pillows or none at all, here’s an inexpensive option.

Invest in a good pillow insert.  Then buy throw pillow covers that you can change out with the seasons or even your mood.  Start, and yes here I’m shamelessly promoting professionally hand made pillow covers by me, Shirley.  I’m having an inventory clear out sales with a great discount because I’m transitioning to fun embroidered word pillows.

Head over to Pillows Sale Out, select a pair of covers (most come in pairs),
then at check out, enter code:  winter2016.

Still, not ready?  Well you can share this post with a friend.  
Or just let me know what you think.

Related posts on decorative throw pillows:

32 Inspirations For A New Year’s Eve Dinner Party

From Annsliee’s archive, here are three posts with a total of 32 inspiring ideas for a New Year’s Eve Dinner Party.  Whether you’re having a large or small group or just dining for two, each idea offers a marvelous blueprint for creating your own fabulous New Year’s Eve dinner.  And each  idea is easily adaptable for the apartment dweller.

From my Tree Top Apartment to your home,
I wish you a Very Happy New Year!

5 Drop Dead Gorgeous Table Settings For Autumn

There are many many  beautiful fall table settings designed by very creative people.  Decorative elements as pumpkins and gourds are to be found in most of them.  I found table settings with designs and colors that are just drop dead gorgeous and that take a very different twist in use of colors and decorative elements.  Here are five of them:

HouseBeautiful
HouseBeautiful
Thisle woods farm
Thisle woods farm
at the picket fence.com
at the picket fence.com
at the picket fence.com
at the picket fence.com
Pagoda Road:  Design Stone Gable
Pagoda Road:  Design Stone Gable
DigsDigs.png
DigsDigs.png

Additional Readings:

Feeling inspired? What’s your favorite color combination?  
Mine is the blue and orange.  
I would love to hear from you!

Patience And How I Got 25% Off The Price Of Draperies and Slipcovers

My last major decorating project took nearly five years!  Hold off with the wow.  I’m counting the time I spent experiencing a transition in my taste from floral patterns and jewel tones to  a neutral color no fuss decor design.  I couldn’t just throw out the old stuff and start over.  The transition was gradual as I spent a good deal of time reading decorating books, paging through heaps of subscription magazines, and that doesn’t include the ones I gleaned at the grocery stores!  During this period, I came to love two furniture and home decor designers that were closer to my budget.  One of them was Calico Corners.

First, I’m not affiliated with Calico Corners.  I look for quality, durability and designs that can transcend the latest “hipe” in home decor  Like you, I want the most “bang for my bucks.”  So I worked with one particular associate who quickly learned what I was trying to accomplish.  

Here’s the key to getting that discount:  I began to notice that  when Calico Corners had a sale only on fabric it was at 15% off.  But labor was not discounted.  When labor was discounted, usually at 10%, fabric was (but not always) on sale and only at 10%.  So I would purchase the fabric on sale at 15%, then hold it until labor was on sale at 10%.  Simple as that.  How long did I have to wait between sales?  Generally three months.  It was worth it.  

I had two old sofas that were in excellent condition.  One was actually an over-sized love seat.  I discovered that fitted slipcovers were not only cheaper but down right gorgeous.  The upholsterer, Calico Corner’s private contractor, actually came to the house, fitted and cut the fabric.  When work was completed, about two-three weeks, he came back and covered the sofas with the new slipcovers.  I sat around drinking coffee and watching the lovely transformation.

Below is an image from my previous home and my 21 year-old, over-sized sofa with a
new custom slipcover and custom drapes — purchased on 25% price discount:

Also from my previous home:  This was a 25 year-old sofa with new custom back and seat cushions in
down feather, a custom slipcover done in cottage chic — all done with 25% price discount.

As you may or may not know, I’ve been a bit of a nomad since retirement, having lived in three different states.  But I’ve now settled (possibly for a very long time) in a lovely apartment.  While I have very little to purchase, I continue to do so with “hunt and wait” for what I want, then “bird dog” it for a sale.  Patience and tracking sales patterns are key.  But then we all know that, don’t we?

Popular Posts for Additional Reading 

What’s your secret to getting quality home furnishings and decor items at a better price?
Would love to hear from you?