Do you open up magazines, or scroll through Pinterest and dream of having beautiful window boxes or container gardens? Last week I teased you with some inspiring container garden possibilities. My goal today is to show you how you too, can create a magazine-worthy window box.   This is a full-blown tutorial filled with planting tips, hang on!!     How to Plant a Window Box Garden   To make it easy I'll be sharing lots of photos and easy instructions, and "how to" tips for creating a successful, gorgeous, window box.  We'll talk about plant … [Read more...]

Lovely Lunaria as a Cut Flower     A corner of our backyard has the popular dried flower, Honesty.  Sometimes it is also referred to as the Money Plant.  It often has a weedy appearance in the garden.  But, this year the color was especially stunning.  You might describe it as a deep magenta purple.  On a whim I decided to cut two stems and bring them inside. A small cut-crystal vintage bud vase was the chosen vessel for this loveliness.  There are lots of side stems on this regal-colored plant.  I cut the side shoots off the main stem and had many pretty … [Read more...]

  When the weather turns warm, I can't wait to hit the greenhouses and garden centers for the most beautiful plants I can find. I make it into a challenge to get the good stuff before anyone else.  I'm a competitor and my intent is to win. (But let's keep that secret between the two of us, okay?)     Have you always wanted to create an extraordinary container garden?   You see them at the garden centers and in magazines. Could you really create an extraordinary container garden? My resounding answer is, YES!!     Why not create one this … [Read more...]

  Doesn't this photo make you think garden party? It seems with so many trees in flower and color everywhere the earth is having a celebration. I stumbled across this quote.  Is it not perfect? Spring is nature's way of saying, "Let's party!" Robin Williams     Speaking of party! There is a big party being planned for An Extraordinary Day! It all starts on Monday with a guest post from someone who is a VIP in my blogging book and one of the first people that I connected with in the blog world.  It will be an honor to have her here to help celebrate my first year of … [Read more...]

  Walking.  It's something we do every day. We love it for getting our exercise.  But, one reason that I choose walking is because it gives me the opportunity to actually 'talk' with my husband.  And the other reason, is because it gives me more time to notice the world around me.    I know, that's no surprise to you....especially as it seems that my second most favorite thing to do is to go out, camera in hand, and see what I can discover.     Maybe that's why I notice things that change along my paths.  Like the first day the Crocus stick up their pretty … [Read more...]

Day 13 Every year as Fall rolls around we make plans to go apple and pumpkin picking.  But, most of all, my husband can't wait to sink his teeth into a hot apple dumpling at a local apple barn.     When we lived in Michigan we often took a drive to Crane Orchards and Crane's Pie Pantry Restaurant & Bakery in Fennville.   We joined long lines of people, standing out the door and winding around the building while waiting for a seat, there to enjoy a fresh-baked peach pie, or apple dumpling, and a 10 cent glass of sweet apple cider.       We have since moved … [Read more...]

Day 2   ...I Love about Fall!   Zinnias   Isn't it the little things that can make your day? Like... Zinnias Crisp cool air The smell of wet leaves Wooly Bear Caterpillars The Aroma of Concord Grapes Fresh Pressed Apple Cider Pumpkins, Squash, & Gourds Sitting by the Fire with a Creamy Mug of Hot Cocoa Falling Leaves A Kaleidoscope of Red, Orange, Yellow, and Green Corn.... Candy, Indian, & Stalks The Aroma of Apples in the Apple Barn Hot Apple Pie, Crisp, & Dumplings Butternut Squash Soup Warm Wooly Sweaters Snuggly Flannel Sheets El … [Read more...]

Everyone's doing it. Decorating their mantels for Fall.   But, not me.  Nope.   In order to decorate a mantel, one must have a mantel.                              It's one of those details that makes all the difference.   I had a mantel.  Once. It was lovely.  Of course, I just might be a little biased since I designed it.  That was my Michigan mantel which surrounded my favorite brick, and housed a firebox where we burned cherry.  Mmmm.  So fragrant. I loved that fireplace.  The mantel too.  On a fall evening I could be found tending the fire, almost sitting in the firebox, to get … [Read more...]

Fall garden.   For some, fall and garden do not go together in the same sentence. I remember back when I lived in Michigan I pretty much threw up my hands in exasperation by the end August.   It was a sad sight. Can you relate?     When I moved to New York I knew that my next garden needed to be an all-season garden.   Since I love the colors of fall and being outside, I made sure to select perennials that would bloom in September and into October.  My husband even says that he likes our fall garden best.  For me, that's success!  I wish I could show you photos of that … [Read more...]

This morning, after watering and fertilizing my porch pots, window boxes, and hanging baskets, I took a stroll around my "garden." Really all I have is a rolling, bumpy, rough-around-the-edges yard.  It isn't really a garden, yet.  Though I do have a small but lovely island of various Sedums, Euphorbia, Goat's Beard, Iris, and Geranium in the middle of my backyard. In the back corner, someone, long ago, had a garden.  I've pulled multitudes of weeds from that corner, leaving behind strawberry plants which I had hoped would bear lots of fat juice red berries.  Ha!  Unfortunately they are not that kind of … [Read more...]

  Happy Labor Day! What does the holiday mean for you? An end of summer hurrah? One last day or two at the lake or beach? Maybe a gathering of friends with a fire or cookout? A chance to knuckle down and get a DIY project done? And maybe even for some, it's no different than any other day.     There is a bit of history behind Labor Day and why we celebrate it which I won't get into that here.   Instead I am thinking, if we have it for someone else or we're our own task master...we are blessed. Recently I heard that the "real" unemployment numbers are more … [Read more...]

 Thanks for joining me for another Joy Day! A day where we count blessings. A day where we celebrate God's overwhelming goodness. A day when we take a look around us, with His eyes, and really see.     My birthday was a few days ago.   It was a great day.  And, because it was also Tim's regular day off, we enjoyed the whole day together. Our day concluded with walking "downtown" to the wonderful little Connections Cafe for Sharon's yummy grilled-to-order pizza.  I choose mine topped with grilled veggies, Tim choose his topped with mushrooms & spinach.  This is the most … [Read more...]

Earth laughs in flowers. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Hamatreya"   Queen Anne's Lace  Abundant along the roadsides, this lovely lacy flower has a bit of folklore attached to it. It's said that Queen Anne, wife of James I of England was a great lace maker and one day pricked her finger with a needle while making lace, spilling a drop onto a nearby flower.   Thus, the lore behind the tiny purplish black or deep red floweret gracing the center of the flower. The plant was introduced to the Americas by early settlers who brought with them seeds for their gardens and medicinal uses. In … [Read more...]

  Have you always wanted to create a pretty container garden?       Why not create one this weekend?     Below are 9 steps to help you get started, plus lots of inspiration too!        But first.... more inspiration!       Nine steps to get the process started.   1.  Decide where you want your container garden(s). 2.  Notice if that location is sunny, partly sunny, or mostly shadey? 3.  Choose a container for your location.  Don't skimp on the size...your plants need room to grow. 4.  Select … [Read more...]

Seeing God demonstrate his love for us in nature. If we just look, God has object lessons of his grace and love all around for us to see and experience.     Almost exactly 3 years ago to the day, my husband and I were sitting in the office of our executive pastor. We were anticipating some new changes in the structure of the children's ministry.  Tim was leading a thriving and growing ministry to children with excellence and grace, and we were anticipating a good meeting.  Several minutes later we were told that we (I was Tim's ministry assistant) would no longer be leading the children's … [Read more...]

Was this past weekend your big "get the yard in shape" working weekend?   Traditionally Memorial Day {Weekend} is when mulch gets spread, shrubs, and lawns get trimmed, flowers get planted, the pool gets opened, and everyone gets ready for summer outdoor fun.  Is that your tradition?  We tend to spend plenty of time "playing" in the yard.  But, gardening and yard work for our family starts as soon as the weather is spring like, and flower planting begins usually around Mother's Day.   This year has been a bit challenging for me, with limited finances, living in a new town, and renting a home. … [Read more...]

Have you ever hung a pocket of posies           on the door of a friend or neighbor,                      rung their door bell,                                   and quickly ran?  It was a wonderful May Day tradition I grew up enjoying. Maybe it was because I loved flowers. Apple blossoms.  Lilacs.  Dandelions.  In full bloom.  Or maybe it was the chance to be sneaky and bless someone.  I like to think that the recipient of my posy pocket felt blessed.   Years later living in my own home, a sweet young neighbor blessed me with a May Basket. Recently on Facebook she … [Read more...]