Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy Anniversary, Mr. JCrew!

Three years it’s been since we said, “I Do.” Each day it gets better and we fall more in love. God purposefully brought us into each other’s lives and knew what was best for us. Our story is crazy and many don’t believe it. It’s still hard to believe myself at times.
Mr. JCrew and I met in October of 2007. Were engaged December 14, 2007 and married two weeks later. Who can be so sure in that short amount of time?
It wasn’t like me not to wait. I’m a researcher and a planner. I make sure things are right before I jump in and do them. But I trusted God and he has rewarded me with the best husband I could have ever dreamed of.
He has made me a better person throughout the years. He is my best friend and I can’t imagine life without him.
Happy Anniversary, Lovey. You’re my dream come true. I LOVE YOU!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

What Are You Going To Do With All Those Trees?

I came up with this vision for our yard. My vision kept growing. I found neat plants and trees that I wanted to incorporate. I had so much I wanted to do, that I made a three-year plan to get it all done.

My first year was going to include clearing the dirt for the new flowerbeds and planting all the trees. I loved climbing trees as a kid and I wanted the trees to get in the ground as fast as possible so they could grow and be big enough to climb by the time little JCrew’s were welcomed into the family.

Teddy Bear Magnolia bloom
My plan included 16 trees in the backyard alone! Mr. JCrew wanted to keep the middle yard open for future soccer practice, and I wanted to create more privacy, so our trees would line up against the fence.

Forest Pansy Redbud

Because we wanted to create privacy, we mixed the variety of trees between deciduous and evergreen. Deciduous trees lose their leaves in the winter while evergreens keep their leaves all year round. My favorite evergreen growing up was the Southern Magnolia. Our back yard is not big enough to support the size of the Magnolia, but I found a variety that would.

Eagleston Holly
Magnolia’s come in all shapes and sizes. Some have giant leaves and some have smaller flowers. I liked the big leaves on Southern Magnolia’s. I was introduced to the Teddy Bear variety that only gets 20 feet tall and has the huge leaves. I bought two to anchor in the back corners of the yard.
Teddy Bear Magnolia

We bought the small size so that it was easier to plant. We nicknamed these trees our “Love Fern’s” because we planted them the weekend Mr. JCrew was discharged from the Air Force and was moving home for good.
Baby Teddy Bear Magnolia - April 2009
Teddy Bear Magnolia - June 2010

Buying smaller plants is a good strategy. It makes you appreciate the growth the plant gives you. It’s satisfying to look back at the size it once was and see how far along it has come thanks to your love and care. Yet, if you need instant privacy, buying big would be your way to go. You may need to have a professional help you dig the massive hole.

Ivory Silk Lilac
Among the collection of trees we aquired, we have a beautuful Ivory Silk Lilac that blooms in June; three Chinese Fringe Trees that bloom shortly after they get their leaves in April/May; an Eastern Redbud that blooms first in the Spring; two Eagleston Hollies that keep a bushy form; and four Yuma Crepe Myrtles that line by the gate. Two more Acoma Crepe Myrtles are randomly placed and are beautiful weeping trees.
Chinese Fringe Tree bloom - April 2010

I took my time researching the trees. The Yumas had the light lavendar color I wanted, the Eagleston's had the shape I needed and the Fringe trees were just gorgeous! I found them off a Southern Living Blog (TheGrumpyGardener.)

Yuma Crepe Myrtle bloom
Our trees keep growing and I love taking pictures to compare to the year before. My favorite time of year is Spring! I walk around inspecting the trees and looking at their new buds coming in!
Buds on Magnolia
Not only are trees beautiful to look at, but they provide housing for the birds and shade for the animals. I love seeing the birds make nests and take cover in our trees.
Happy Planting!

In This Post:
Yuma Crepe Myrtles (12 ft)
Acoma Crepe Myrtles (10 ft)
Eagleston Holly (25 ft)
Teddy Bear Magnolia (20 ft)
Eastern Redbud (30 ft)
Chinese Fringe Tree (25 ft)
Ivory Silk Lilac (25 ft)
Front Yard
Forest Pansy Redbud (25 ft)
October Glory Maple (40 ft)

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Red Berry Hollies

Moving to Alabama, I had never seen red clay. I thought it was beautiful. It was strange to see the ground being dug and red stuff coming up. My mother-in-law told me how nutritious the red clay was for plants. Clay would definitely be different from my Florida sand I grew up in.

Growing up, I loved working in the yard. My mom made me my own flowerbed that I was responsible for. I picked out the plants and took care of them. I was so proud of the yard. Even at a young age, I knew the importance of curb-appeal. Our bushes stayed trim and our grass mowed. I was going to make sure that our house looked cared for.
At my condo I had no yard to care for, but the grounds were beautiful. I loved my view. At our new Alabama home, I was excited for the massive blank canvas I had to work with.

The builder puts in plants that add something to the yard because they are contractually bound to. The plants aren’t the prettiest, but they last through abuse!

I didn’t care for the plants in my little flowerbed. I didn’t even know what they were. By February, I stopped by a local nursery, CatBird Seat, and purchased an abundance of hollies. I chose hollies because they don’t lose their leaves in the winter. I had no idea how many varieties of Holly there are. There are the really prickly kind and then there are varieties with little to no “needles” on the leaves.
Carissa Holly
I bought five dwarf Buford hollies to go right next to the house. These bushes will need to be trimmed regularly.
I bought five Carissa Hollies. These are a favorite of mine. I see them in the Target parking lot here and they can get big. I plan to let mine get wider, but keep them low. It’s almost been two years and they’ve doubled in size.
Carissa Holly
I also bought Helleri Holly. This variety was another new one to me that was cute and had no pricklies. These stay small and low, but can get bigger. They add a nice texture to the bed.

Changing out the plants in the front yard made a difference. Now we didn’t match the other houses with all the same plants. It looked like we cared about our house.

I promise the bed looks a thousand times better now. You'll see.
Pulling out the builder’s plants, I did not take my time, nor was I gentle. I yanked those plants out. I would be okay if they died.
I transplanted the plants to the back yard. The round globe arborvitae plants were relocated under the kitchen window.

The other plants made their home in a new flowerbed in between our bedroom windows.

I promise I did not take care of these plants and they are still living! I moved the red and green bushes again later in the year when we added the porch extension and they’re still going strong! I still don’t know what the green bushes are, but they’re hardy!
All this digging and I began my hatred for clay soil. Clay gets cold and hard in the winter months. I wasn’t supposed to be digging I February, but I did and I didn’t like it. 

September 2012

In This Post:
Dwarf Buford Holly (produces red berries)
Carissa Holly (no red berries)
Helleri Holly (no berries or needles)
Globe Arborvitae
Questionable Plant that gets flowering berries (maybe a type of Laurel)

Saturday, December 25, 2010

White Christmas

No need for dreaming... it's been a perfect day.

The boys had a fun time in the snow.

The birds repeatedly came for nibbles.

We stopped by Mom and Dad's townhome to view the snow.

White Christmas is just so beautiful.

I hope you had a very Merry Christmas.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Wreaths Galore!

I had so much fun making my wreaths. I didn’t know I had it in me. I looked far and wide for a wreath I liked that was in my price range. I could find beautiful wreaths, but they were $70 and up. Even at that price, they still weren’t perfect.
I bought a bare wreath at Old Time Pottery on sale for $8.99. I then went to Hobby Lobby and bought some greenery. I wanted my wreaths to look natural.
I bought eucalyptus.

I bought fern like plants

I found a deep red hydrangea

Berries added a nice touch

My greenery looked nice together. Once home, I took the greenery apart; cutting it into little pieces. Cut the greenery into natural pieces. The little clumps naturally found on a branch are perfect.  You don’t want to clumps on your wreath. Remember, we’re trying to look natural.
I spread out the hydrangea first. It’s the only piece on the wreath that is evenly spaced out. All the rest was randomly placed.
To attach the pieces of greenery to the wreath I used floral wire.

Once the hydrangea was in place, I started randomly placing pieces of my greenery everywhere. I kept adding pieces until I could barely see the bare wreath anymore.

After my first success, I told my mom I’d make one for her front door. I made hers exactly the same, except I added silver ribbon. Dressed it up just a little bit more.

Because I had made two wreaths, and Mom is currently living with us, I had to find another location to hang the second wreath. My mom mentioned my sister hanging a wreath on her back door as well as her front. I thought it a great idea and hung the second wreath on the back door for its temporary home. I liked it there!

See, I have this problem… with my parents living with us for a few months, I’ve had to find temporary homes for pieces of furniture. It then turns out that I like the furniture in its temporary home, so I have to go buy a duplicate piece of furniture to put back in the old spot. It’s becoming comical!
Since the wreath’s temporary home was my new favorite, I set out again to buy supplies to make a third wreath. This wreath would be slightly different. Since the kitchen is primarily green, I wanted the wreath to have a million different shades of green in it.

I bought all the same stuff, except instead of the deep red hydrangea (which they didn’t have) I bought a cream hydrangea and a green hydrangea. I liked them both and couldn’t decide.

I used the green hydrangea on the wreath first, but after adding greenery, the hydrangea wasn’t popping like I wanted it to. So, I added the cream hydrangea right next to it. Now, it stood out.

I found brown berries to use instead of the deep read.

And I found a lighter version of the eucalyptus and used both the dark and light in this wreath.

I even found this fuzzy greenery.

All together, this wreath is my favorite. I’m trying to come up with a place to hang it year-round. I already have a tiny mistletoe wreath I hang on the laundry room door year-round. This wreath is rather large and I love it. I could hang it on the front door, but I don’t want to chance it fading in the sun!

What to do ?!? ……

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Cheer

I admit I was playing the part of Scrooge this year. I was not in the mood to get the tree out this year.  Putting out decorations involves moving furniture and finding new homes for the moved furniture. With my parents living with us, our extra rooms are occupied and there is no where to put the extra furniture without it looking silly. So, I put my Scrooge hat on and announced there would be no Christmas tree. My mom acted sad and asked where we would put the presents. I was more than fine with putting presents in front of the fireplace.

But then something bit me and I gotinto the Christmas spirit. I don’t know what bit me, but I was on my way home from Church and asked Mr. JCrew if he’d help me get down the Christmas tree and quickly put it up before my mom got home.

We quickly put up the tree and put a few ornaments on it. Ornaments are fun to put on the tree, but not fun to take off. There are enough ornaments on there to get the idea.

Our house has different roof lines that are not easy to line with lights. The chimney gets in the way. So, our outside decorations are minimal. We hand this large wreath above the garage and it lights up. Last year we didn’t have a bow on it, but it kept looking like a big “O” and not a wreath. I found a cheap bow that makes it even more beautiful.

We also put candles in the front windows. I found these candles with the pewter base at Target last year.

This year, since I had lanterns on either side of the garage, I bought bows to place on them. I could have made these bows. I learned how a couple weeks ago at a swag camp. There were bow experts there giving lessons. At least I will know how to fix them if something happens!

At night it’s beautiful. It’s a lot of light already. I don’t think I need any more.

I also added a swag to the mailbox. I think it looks pretty. I wish I could take credit for making it, but I didn’t.

Inside the decorations are still kept to a minimum. I filled an empty vase with colored bells, and I set up my Willie Ray Nativity set. Only three Nutcrackers made it out this season. They found a new home on the coat rack this year.

This year I made three wreaths! One is for my mom, and I’m using it on the front door.  I put a similar one on the laundry door and a third on the back door. Tomorrow I’ll post a DIY post on how I made the wreaths. I loved it so much, I contemplated opening a wreath store.

Christmas Spirit hit me hard. I feel like I didn’t do much and kept it simple, yet when I look at all the pictures, it feels like a lot.

Merry Christmas!!
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