Vegetable Garden – Building a Raised Bed


As I mentioned yesterday, we loosely followed Pioneer Woman’s plans to build a raised vegetable bed. We started out with six 2″x6″ untreated pine boards, 8′ each. (Cedar lasts longer than pine but since we’re not sure if we’ll keep the garden here for the next 10 year, pine will be fine.) We also bought a box of deckmate outdoor screws and a package of 18″ pine stakes.

After sawing two of the boards in half (to 2″x6″x4′), we predrilled holes in each end of the 8′ boards using a simple template. I held the boards together while Jason drilled the screws into place. First level of the frame is built.

We decided where we wanted the bed and then Jason mowed the grass down low in that spot. Next step, pound the stakes into place and screw the frame to the stakes.

The second tier of the walls can be assembles right on top of the first tier, which is now secured to the ground. First, Jason screwed the corners together, then fastened the top tier into each stake. This prevents the boards from warping and bowing. We hope.

PW doesn’t mention doing this but we like to create a barrier between the yard and the new garden soil so the grass (and WEEDS) don’t grow up through. A layer of black trash bags will do the trick.

Next step: DIRT. We bought up all the top soil that the Home Depot had sitting out – 11 cubic feet. I wanted to get at least 16 cu. ft. so we’d have 6″ of fresh soil. To fill in the other 5 cu. ft. we grabbed a few bags of Moo-Nure fertilizer and one bag of Nature’s Helper which “Saves Water / Retains Moisture” (I have no idea what it is.).

Clever bar code placement.

Jason mixing the cow poo in with the top soil and magic water saving stuff.

Here are our greenhouse frames (cold frames) made from old windows. We also have glass windows to set over the top to seal out the cool air. Hopefully the peeling paint is not toxic…

And here are our finished raised vegetable bed.


Vegetable Garden – Planning


It’s our fourth summer at this home and we’re putting the vegetable garden in it’s third location to date. This year we decided to building a raised bed for the first time, 4′ x 8′, roughly following Pioneer Woman’s instructions.

Originally I was thinking of doing a square foot garden – giving us space for 32 plants.

But Jason, my green-thumbed husband, said a square foot is not big enough for some of the things we wanted to grow – especially tomatoes. And we didn’t really need 32 different plants. Plus, we have 2 cold frames made from repurposed windows that we decided to use as greenhouses in the vegetable beds during the early spring months. There’s around 3’x3′.

Here’s the plan we came up with:

We’re starting watermelons, brussel and basil seedlings in the greenhouses for now. The cold frame on the left will be home to: strawberries, red bell peppers and green bell peppers. (We decided not to do chili peppers again this year.) The frame on the right with house: better boy tomatoes, beefsteak tomatoes, grape roma tomatoes and cherry tomatoes. Between the frames we’re going to try out brussel sprouts for the first time. Along the front of the left frame we’re planting romaine lettuce and along the front of the right frame, arugula.

I’m very excited! We’ve never done strawberries or brussel sprouts or romaine lettuce before. We’re trying sugar baby watermelons this year. Besides this 4’x8′ planter we also have a young peach tree and raspberry bush that we have high hopes for this year.

In case anyone is wondering …

Planted from seed:
sweet basil
sugar baby watermelon
brussel sprouts
romaine lettuce

Purchased plants:
strawberries (pictured above)
red bell peppers
green bell peppers
grape roma tomatoes
cherry tomatoes
beefsteak tomatoes
better boy tomatoes

A Jeré Tree?


Could this be an original Curtis Jeré wall sculpture? I have no idea. Perhaps unlikely, but definitely possible. Whatever it is – I love it. It’s a mid-century modern sculpture of a tree. That’s enough to make it welcome in our home!

Jason snagged this at an estate sale a few weeks ago for $25. The vendors didn’t know anything about it. It’s unmarked and missing a few leaves. It’s also big—bigger than I thought when I first saw the photos online—about 25″ tall and sticks out about 6″ from the wall. We haven’t yet figured out where to hang it.

What do you think?

You may recall our friends scored a Jeré wheat sculpture while we were visiting them in Cincinnati over New Years.

Phone Photo Friday


The Spring-y weather inspired me to paint my toenails … hot pink!

I’m baaaaaaack!


Well, kind of. Starting tomorrow I’m back to regular posting! It’s been a busy past 2 weeks which leaves me with lots of news to blog about.

I bet none of you missed me as much as I missed my daily blogging. That’s ok.

After a Spring-y Phone Photo Friday tomorrow, I’ll be posting in the next weeks about new mid-century modern treasures, a bathroom renovation update, our 2010 vegetable garden and some of the graphic design projects that have been eating up all my blogging time.

It’s good to be back!

(Photo above is from last spring. I’m really tempted to sneak around the neighborhood after dark and steal clippings from everyone’s flowering trees and bushes!)

Phone Photo Friday


Welcome Spring! These are the first trees I spot flowering every year (in 5 points in East Nashville.)



I apologize in advance for the light blogging and/or lack of blogging the next few days. I hate to neglect my blog but I’m currently up to my ears in freelance work (which is in addition to my 9-to-5er) and I need to take a little hiatus. While I’m treading water, please enjoy this picture of my adorable sweet fuzzy-bear dog, Lucy. Or Lucy-Lu-Lu as our friends like to call her. She needs a hair cut. This picture was taken 2 weeks ago. She can hardly see now. Sorry baby!

Lucy and I love daylight saving time. Now it’s still light out when I get home around 6:00 and we can take walks in the evening. It’s good exercise for her and good stress relief for me! I can’t believe all this fuss people make about losing an hour of their precious sleep. Seriously people? Your sleep is that important to you that an hour changes your world?! Oh, don’t get me started! Love ya’ll! Be back soon!

Wise Words


“You may be one brave decision from the most important step in your destiny.” — Beth Moore

Phone Photo Friday


Customs House in downtown Nashville as I was driving by.

Advice for Fresh Graphic Designers


(Me at work approx. 3 years ago)

We have a new graphic design intern at my office. She’s still in school but preparing for the job market. It got me thinking about ome valuable advice I got from my professors and some things I wish I had known 3 years ago. Maybe this advice will be worth something to someone out there:

• Learn the keyboard shortcuts. Over time this will make you much more efficient. Added benefit: someone looking over your shoulder will have no idea what you’re doing and be completely impressed.

• Stay organized. Files. Deadlines. Emails. Meetings. Don’t let things pile up.

• Seek out inspiration. When you have free time peruse websites, blogs, magazines, your competitors publications. Become familiar with the things your target market loves.

• Say yes. When someone asks if you have time for a side project say yes. It’s OK to say, “Can it wait until tomorrow?” or “When do you need this? I have a lot going on today.” Don’t roll your eyes, let out a stressed-out sigh, say “maybe” and for-crying-out-loud DO NOT say no!

• Do a good job and work effiiciently. Turn things around quickly, especially unexpected requests, like above. Before long you will the everyone’s favorite designer and the go-to problem solver. Welcome this. It’s job security.

• Volunteer and have a service attitude. When you’re not busy help someone else with their work load. (You may learn some new skills.) When your boss asks if anyone has time to help him move boxes from the storage unit to the new office building. Say yes. And then make the time. Your helpful attitude and hard-work will not go unnoticed.

• Say hi and smile at your co-workers when they walk past your desk. Be friendly. Say yes to lunch offers as often as you can afford. It’s important and useful to know—really know—your co-workers; they’re people with families and full lives, too.

• Look for tutorials for design techniques and new software. Know the free resources for stock art, textures, action sets, fonts. Valuable inspiration and also saves your company money. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Challenge yourself. Never stop learning.

• Pray for your company; without it’s success you have no job*. Pray for your co-workers. Pray for your bosses. Pray for yourself—for creativity, for inspiration, for efficiency, for a good attitude, for peace, for energy, for raises (doesn’t hurt!).
*By all means, DO NOT curse your company! Do not say “This job is going nowhere.” “This company is going down the tubes.” “I’m on a sinking ship.” I’ve been guilty of saying all these things in the past. Take authority and bless your company, do not speak negativity over it. Speak what you want to happen, not what you do not want to happen. Your words have power.

• The ideal graphic designer is a combination of creative, efficient, organized and cool (enthusiastic, pleasant, stylish, trendy, fun).