DIY Shelves Ikea Style

 

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I’m super excited about the new shelves in my home! There were some minor hiccups along the way, (isn’t that how it usually is with DIY… you experiment, try new things?) even with the “ack” moments, I’m really happy with the way it all turned out. This is how it went down…or up?…

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I tried to make my own stain using the steel wool method. Notice the word tried? I want to give this DIY stain another go. I believe my mistake was letting this mixture sit too long. Thus the strong rust color rather than the weathered gray I was going for.

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1. Fine steel wool in a glass jar  2. Pour white vinegar to cover steel wool (about 2 cups)  3. Let sit for a few days  4. Stain is made (again, I think I let mine sit too long)

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These brackets are from Ikea. I bought them about 10 years ago. They were light pine, lovely as is, but I wanted a weathered look. The second bracket from the left was after one coat and the third bracket was after a second coat. Neither color was anywhere near the weathered gray I was going for.

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I found the stain didn’t go on evenly even though I applied it evenly. Perhaps it was because I didn’t use a wood conditioner.

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I had hoped with a third coat the color would even out somewhat (and hoping the color would gray out as they dried…), but that was not the case. As I mentioned above, the color came out a “rust” color instead of the weathered gray I was hoping to achieve. At this point I was not in a full-blown panic, but more like “ack”! I’d been waiting for the right time and place to use these and now I’ve ruined them! What do I do now?

So… I got out my trusty DeWALT palm sander and went at the brackets. I didn’t sand them down to bare wood as I still wanted the weathered look and decided a whitewashed technique could be just what these brackets needed. You can see the whitewashed technique here.

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I wanted to mention how I hang stuff on my walls. TAPE. I use tape to “see” what the finished look will look like. You will see in future posts that the artwork is hung different from what is taped here (hence the beauty of using tape. See it before the nails go in.) I also changed the color of the walls in this room. The clock stayed in the same spot and so did the shelves. 🙂 I moved the cat house you see in the corner of the picture to the hall upstairs. I’ve noticed the cats scratch at it way more up there and it seems to be a great spot for them to go to when they need some quiet time. (see the cat post here) The lamp was moved to another room. You can see the lamp shade project here. Following At Koko’s Place you will see that things rarely stay in the same place for long!

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The boards I used for the shelves used to be one of two huge bookcases. My awesome husband took them apart for me and the boards sat in the garage where they awaited what their new life would be. Picture them stained the darkest brown color you see here. I sanded them, leaving both the natural wood color and some of the brown stain, knowing I would whitewash the boards using the technique I did on the dresser turned desk here.

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In making the bookcases, I countersunk screws… In making shelves, I didn’t want them to show. I then cut four boards down to 40 1/2 inches long using my DeWALT jig saw and then sanded the edges. 

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Patch away I did. There was a lot of patching to do! After patching, I sanded it all flat.

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Dark gray walls now! The rack of plants I move around to follow the sun. And spoiled pets…the reason we bought sofas. 😉

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Taped the walls again after the new color went on. Frog tape was used this time instead of Scotch Blue. The headlamp was because I decided to hang the shelves around midnight and I didn’t have adequate lighting in the room at the time. What? I know I’m not the only one that does projects at odd hours 😉

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I used the level as I taped the lines. It made the job easier for me. I didn’t have studs where I needed them to be, so I used wall anchors. Best invention. See them in this project here.

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Four down, four to go!

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Even though I pre-leveled, I still would check the level as I went along. I also made sure the brackets were in a straight line.

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All done! Now to add the boards.

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*Insert happy squeal here!

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Plants bought from Trader Joe’s, Home Depot, and Costco. Owl from TJMaxx. Buddha, can’t remember, I’ve had him for a long time.

I lived with the blue, then the green tapes for a bit. Over the course of a few weeks, I moved the tapes from three shelves to four and played with the spacing. I tried to picture what I would have on the shelves and how tall I envisioned the plants to grow. Since I love greenery, I knew I wanted more space to put them so that was why I added the fourth shelf. And I am happy I did!

Thank you so much for reading. As always, I appreciate YOU! Have a beautiful day!

❀Be well and just love! Peace, Koko❀

 

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How To Collect Seeds-Green Onions!

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I love green onions! I toss them in almost everything; soups, salads, and even in my sandwiches. I love them fresh, and sautéed in any oil or butter, and grilled!

You’ve seen how I propagate them in my window sill here…but I also grow them in my garden. I collect the seeds so that I can do it all over again…why? Because I love green onions!

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You can re-grow green onions this way…Cut off most of the green tops and plant the white part and roots (of course) in good soil. In a few days you will see it start to grow. What “green” you see here is about 2-3 days of growth. They grow fast. They love a sunny window sill and gentle watering.

If you’ve ever grown green onions and let them bolt, then you already know the flowers are so pretty! Another plus is the bees like them too! So I always let a good amount of my green onions bloom to show some love to the bees! They work so hard and this is the least I can do for them!

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Flowers + Bees—Bees + Flowers! The wonders in nature never cease to amaze me. I am humbled each time I step outside to see the beauty of it all.

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Mint in the background. I love to brush my hand along the mint. Such a refreshing fragrance! Inhale deeply and smile. Give it a try!

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Half of this garden bed I’ve allowed to “bolt” (a fancy way of saying letting the plant “flower” so you can harvest the seeds off it). After the green onion flowers, I leave the flowers on the plant to dry. It is in each little blossom where the onion seeds are found. How cool is mother nature?!

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After the blossoms dry, I will either store the “whole” head or take them apart like you see here. Just make sure the blossoms are totally dry so you don’t get any mold growth.

You can “re-grow” green onions by putting the bottom parts in water or soil and if you grow them outdoors, you can allow a few to bloom flowers and then collect their seeds and then plant the seeds! Amazing right?! And simple as well! I love that.

I harvest the green onion by snipping them with scissors. Even the plants that are bolting; I will snip the long green stems (NOT the stems with flowers on them). If I let the plant grow too much and the greens are thicker, I make a soup with the greens, much like you would do with leeks. I’ve also grilled them. Rarely anything goes to waste in the garden and really if I don’t eat everything, it all gets composted back in!

Did you know?

Green onions are full of vitamin K and C.

Green onions are good for your eyes. With vitamin A and carotenoids (cancer fighting properties) and both Zeaxanthin and Lutein, working together to keep the eyes healthy!

One last picture…..

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A nice surprise: If you already follow me on instagram, you’ve already seen this little guy! (Eastern milk snake). I found him on one of my walks along a trail I mowed on the back half of my property. What a cutie right?

Green onions are one of the easiest plants to grow. I hope you give this plant a try. If you’ve thought you didn’t have a “green thumb”, this plant will give you hope! Collect the seeds and you will never have to buy them again!

Like it, share it! With love and peace, Koko 🙂

DIY: Make Your Own Eco Friendly Seed Pots

Hello all you AWESOMENESSES! (It is a word in the Koko dictionary!)

I want to share with you how I plant many of my seeds. The video below says it all, or you can scroll down through the pictures…

I’m pretty sure you can guess what this “special” container is…

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This lovely container is…yes, you guessed it, the end of a toilet paper roll. It makes for an amazing plant container. Let me show you what I do!

What I like about using this as a container for seeds is, it’s re-usable, compostable, and practically free!

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Start by crimping one end of the tube. You want to create a “bottom”. Keep on crimping until the tube is closed…

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Like this! Once you get your container bottoms all made, you will need to put them in something to hold them all upright. I’ve used a plastic salad container, egg cartons, shoe boxes…Use your imagination! Most anything that will keep them upright will do.

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To fill the container, I use a make-shift funnel made out of thick paper. The T.P. rolls are in a paper (cardboard) “gomacrobar” box. If you haven’t tried a gomacrobar…do it! So delicious! Oh and see that adorable cup? It’s designed by Molly Hatch. Aren’t the polka dots just the cutest?

 

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Fill em up!

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Don’t forget to label. Again why I like using the cardboard containers, you can simply scribble right on the tubes!

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If you are planting in ceramic or other types of containers, you can make labels like the ones you see here. I just wrote on paper and taped them to a toothpick.

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These labels are made from plastic knives and I used a sharpie.

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   I couldn’t resist showing off one of my favorite bowls. My sister in-law made it! Isn’t it a beauty?

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Like the cups says, “something good”…whether it’d be for yourself, (a nap, hot bath, a yummy drink) or for someone else, (catching up with an old friend, taking your mom out to lunch, donating towels and blankets to your local animal shelter)…whatever it is, make it something good!

Love and Peace, Koko

Tip: The theweeklyday asked a question and I wanted to share with you my answer. He was wondering how long they last indoors before the t.p. rolls fall apart. It really depends on the rolls and how you water them. They all are not created equal. However, if I have a “sad” roll (falling apart), I will take another roll and slice along the side and just “wrap” the “sad” roll. This method works really well to hold them together! Save the ends of paper towel rolls. Those are great for doing this with as you can cut them to size. But, you can do that with t.p. rolls too! Great question “theweeklyday”.

How To Store Seeds

There are many ways to store seeds. You can use plastic zip baggies, jars, small paper bags, tiny boxes (ie. jewelry boxes). Below is one of the ways I store them.

Allowing a few cilantro plants to bolt.

Here, I’ve allowed a few cilantro plants to bolt.

Collecting cilantro seeds.

Collecting cilantro seeds. I like to use a white paper towel so I can see the seeds. As for seeds like my oak leaf lettuce; being white/light grey, I will sometimes use brown paper towels. Clear large zip bags work great too for light colored seeds, well, for any seeds for that matter… 😉

One way I store them is making “paper towel” envelopes.

Cut a paper towel to size. This one was a "select a size" type paper towel and I cut it in half.

Cut a paper towel to size. This one was a “select a size” type paper towel and I cut it in half. (Oh and the seeds you see here in this photo happens to be onion seeds.)

After putting a a bit of seeds in the center...I eyeball folding the paper in three. I a third of the paper over the seeds then the other third over that.

After putting a bit of the seeds in the center…I eyeball, folding the paper in three. A third of the paper over the seeds, then the other third over that.

Then I fold that in thirds. Folding the bottom third towards the middle then the top third I make a triangle...

Then, again in thirds. I fold the bottom third towards the middle (over the seeds). The top third I make a triangle…

See a triangel? :)

See the triangle 🙂

I then tuck the triangle into the slot made from folding the paper in thirds.

From here I just tuck the triangle into the slot made from folding the paper in thirds.

When planting the seeds I will plant the paper towel too. Why not compost it? 🙂

Label the packet. Don't forget the date too!

Label the packet. Don’t forget the date too!

There you go, one way to store seeds. As I said before, there are many ways to store seeds. Why I especially like this method of seed storing is when I do plant them, I’ve pre-measured out the  perfect amount of seeds. I take a “packet” and all the seeds in “said” packet get planted. No fuss.

So allow a plant or two to bolt and collect the seeds. It’s so satisfying to know year after year the plants you grow are from seeds you’ve collected. It’s also nice to save money not having to buy more seed.

Tip: Only collect seeds from plants that you know taste good and grow well. If you allow a “poorly” producing plant to bolt and collect seed from that, you may be growing more poorly producing plants. So allow the best looking plant to bolt and collect from that one.

Tip: Make sure before you harvest the seeds the plant has finished blooming and has dried. I usually leave the plant alone until it’s dead. However it is difficult to control the weather and if you have especially strong winds, you may loose your seeds; such as lettuce seeds as the seeds have the same type of fuzzy tops like a dandelion and that fuzzy head will catch the wind and fly away! You can cut the plant and dry them indoors. As I type this, my bolted lettuce is drying on hooks above my kitchen sink.

Tip: I don’t worry too much about getting each seed totally “clean”. The fuzz or bits of dried stem won’t interfere with germination.

Eat well, be well. It’s up to you to take care of your health. Eating organic and non-GMO foods are great ways to a more healthful YOU! You’d be surprised how small changes you make can add up to huge benefits later on.

Cheers, Koko

Thank you for reading. I’d love to hear your comments. Do you have a favorite way to store seeds?

Mums The Word!

Mums the Word! Nay, nay… I will not be silent.  Oh mums how I love thee….

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Chrysanthemum Morifolium

Summer is fading and so are the flowers we all have loved like Calendula, daylily, the ever so delicate petunias, hibiscus, Echinacea, and one of my favorites; lavender. The list goes on and on, but don’t fret, the passing of summer blooms, come the renewal of fall beauties.

Today I am going to highlight mums. To be more precise, chrysanthemums. When I think of fall, I think of mums. I know it isn’t fall yet; I for one dislike rushing the seasons, yet with my garden center bursting with mums, I know fall is near, and this, excites me.

For a pop of color in your landscape, I highly suggest the chrysanthemum. This plant will be the rock star in your garden as it blooms like crazy showing off the many flowers. If you are not familiar with mums you are in for a color treat, because once it starts blooming, the entire plant looks like one giant bouquet! And the best part is the flowers don’t die out in a a day or three, but, lasting for a long, long time; weeks in fact! So you see why I say mums are like rock stars? They obviously like to show off their awesome talents with amazingly long lasting bloom-after- encore-bloom; which is fine by me.

For the most part mums are a perennial. I say that because if you plant them too late, they may not survive the winter as the roots might not have the chance to really “plant”
themselves. Planting in the spring time is best and with proper mulching it will give the plant a very good chance at surviving the cold winter months. If you plant them about six weeks before the frost, you should be fine. I am hoping that is the case with my mums. I couldn’t resist buying twelve of these beauties now. There’s something about looking outside and seeing bursts of color here and there when everything else goes dormant.
(When winter arrives and the blooms stop blooming, cut the plant back close to the ground.)

Did you know you can separate these plants? Well you can; but only do so every two years or so. What you do is dig up the entire plant and separate out the best looking parts; careful not to disturb the roots too much. Get them in the ground or a pot as soon as you can so you don’t dry out the tender roots, or put the plant in too much shock.

If you are looking for something to adorn your front porch this fall, try the chrysanthemum, as they make great container plants. Mums can make an inexpensive pot look like a million bucks! A couple of pumpkins around the base of the pot and you will have an adorable fallscape on your porch!

What fall flowers do you love?

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Mums, mums, and more mums!

Factoid Time:

Mums the word comes from Shakespeare’s Henry VI, Part 2, Act 1, Scene 2. “Seal up your lips, and give no words but mum.”

Mums the word means to keep quiet.

In Middle English; mum means silent.

Grab your shovel and plant some happiness :D!  Here’s to all you awesome gardeners and wannabes like me!  Koko.

DIY Garden Gate Peace and Roses

Busy weekend, but still made time to smell the roses…

I’ve been enjoying reading up on the great blogs you all have.  This weekend had me in a frenzy getting the house ready for a party.  Fun, fun, fun.

I built the third gate.  This gate should have been the first one.  It’s the most important one; well to me it is.  It leads to my garden.  I open my back door and about 30 steps away is my sanctuary.

I am getting better at building these things.  Faster too.  With each one there have been tiny hic-ups because each is a different size and I needed to account for the weight because of the wider widths as well as land sloping up or down.  All in all, it’s been fun building them.  One more to go!  I am hoping to have that built by next week and then…Chicken coop! Can you say, “bwok, bwok?” I can’t wait! 😉

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Third gate. Zucchini plant to the left; I can already smell the zucchini bread!

The party went off without a hitch.  Great fun and lots of live music.  I finally went to sleep; 4 am came fast!

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Smelling the roses.

I so love all the pictures you all have on your blogs. All of you out there that can grow roses…I take my hat off to you! As you can see this plant has the dreaded black spots. All my neighbors tell me you can’t grow roses around here. I am starting to agree. When I lived on the west coast my roses grew prolifically. I miss them very much. My father-in law grew them and I was happy to have the chance to take over the job of caring for them. It’s one of the things I miss very much when I moved down south. Here in my garden, I am happy I got one to smell! I know this plant won’t last, but for it’s short life, I am thankful.  Hope you all had a great weekend! Make the time to smell the roses. Life is short!

Thank you for your kindness and support through comments and follows!

Peace be with you, Koko