Our family always had fresh herbs growing up: in pots along the porch or the pool deck, or the sidebed outside the lanai. The difference between fresh and dried herbs is night and day and these potent little babies can make a dish entirely on their own. Few things taste better at the dinner table than a big bowl of tiny red creamer potatoes soaked in melted butter and diced fresh rosemary and chives.
Our past year in the apartment was torture for me for many reasons; one of them being my inability to have my own herb garden. I attempted raising indoor potted herbs but it was always a failure. We had few windows and no window sills making the natural light required for photosynthesis hard to achieve. I quickly gave up.
Since we moved in to the new place, I have been hesitant to plant anything in the ground till we have drawn up our landscaping plan. Our goal is to get the curbing in and the fence up before planting our garden. BUT I couldn’t wait any longer for my herbs! Now that I had a REAL kitchen again and my desire to cook returned, having fresh herbs available was imperative.
I have seen numerous versions of stacked-pot arrangements over the past year for flowers, herbs, and also succulents. Besides not wanting to create a permanent herb bed at the time, I also wanted a portable arrangement that I could bring indoors as Florida whether is so unpredictable. I need to be able to bring my herbs indoors to protect from the occasional frosts, frequent scorching sun, and the often days of drowning rain.
I chose to use plastic pots in order for them to be light enough for me to lift them (filled with bricks and dirt) easily back and forth into my home. Trying to do this with terracotta would be more eye-catching, but not portable.
I also used the following supplies:
- 3 plastic pots in the following sizes: 16-inch, 10-inch, 6-inch
- 3 curbing bricks (any bricks will do as long as when stacked, they remain 2-3 inches below the rim of the largest pot)
- hand trowel
- sphagnum peat moss
- potting soil
- desired herbs; I used basil, dill, parsely, thyme, rosemary, oregano, chives, and spearmint
The first step was to stack the bricks in the base pot. I did this to provide stability to the pots which would sit atop, I did not want them sinking over time into the bottom pot. The rocks also serve a dual purpose by reducing the amount of potting soil needed to fill the large base.
I then filled the bottom pot with 2 parts potting soil and 1 part sphagnum peat moss. The peat moss is optional, but I like to use it in my potted plants as it helps to retain the moisture and nutrients in the soil which potted plants are quickly deprived of. I filled the pot up till the top of the brick stack. Before filling the remainder of the pot, I place the next tiered pot on top of the brick stack. I will then fill the soil to the brim, hiding the bricks and the base of the second tier.
Make sure to periodically punch down the soil. When first potting, the soil and peat moss are light and fluffy, but over time the will settle and you don’t want to see the bricks or the base of the second pot. This can be avoided by punching and packing the soil in.
Again I filled the second pot with 2 parts soil and 1 part peat moss.
Because the top pot is so small and light even when filled with soil, it does not need the support the second pot did; it can simply be placed on top of the second tier and lightly pressed down into the dirt to ground it for stability.
Now that everything is assembled, the planting can begin! The plants are going to be root-bound when you purchase them, so make sure to tear some roots free so that they can better incorporate into their new home.
I purposely planted the climbing herbs on the bottom tier so that when they expand and crawl, they will hang over the side of the pot rather than doing the same and smothering the herbs underneath if planted on the higher tiers. This also allows the taller growing herbs such at the chives and basil to grow erect unobstructed.
Colt approved of this outdoor project as it gave him plenty of time to roam and find mischief the backyard.
And look what a little miracle grow, sunshine, and 2-3 three weeks can do!
I was recently inspired by a fellow Pinterest-er at PB&J Stories. I have been wanting to do something with a canvas grid for a while, but I haven’t seen anything that really sparked my imagination until this. I LOVED the idea of memorializing the memory of something as special and precious as the lyrics to our “first dance” at our wedding which happened to be Elvis Presley’s “Can’t Help Falling in Love With You.” Great song, I know ;) I think this project could be easily adapted for anything though, children’s songs, poems, excerpts from a favorite novel….
I was having a difficult time finding canvas squares in just the right size I had in my mind. They were either too large, too small or too thick/deep. Then I ran across these while strolling with Zac in the Dollar Spot at Michaels. They are PERFECT: just the right size AND dirt cheap! They aren’t real canvas (more like vinyl) but I was just going to decoupage right over them anyways so I didn’t care.
I created a design for the lyrics in Adobe Illustrator and then printed them out as 6x6in. squares (the size of these canvases) on white cardstock. I then painted the edges of the squares with black acrylic paint.
Then I spread a thin layer of Mod Podge on top of the squares and carefully placed the printed squares on top. I used 3 coats, allowing to dry 20 min between each coat. The more coats = more texture.
Things I learned the HARD WAY when using Mod Podge for this project:
1. You gotta WORK fast. This stuff gets tacky quickly and makes placing and moving difficult.
2. Many thin layers > fewer thicker layers. Spreading it on too thick will end up in bubbles.
3. Bubbles WILL happen. It doesn’t matter how carefully you work, bubbles WILL happen on occasion but do not panic. They will 95% of the time settle out. I did not have enough patience, ripped off the papers and started over twice before I finally gave up and settled for imperfection. Lo and behold when I visited them in the morning, the bubbles I had resolved to ignore had miraculously disappeared!
4. UPDATE: When completing this project, I did not have an issue with smudging. However, a recent Etsy customer (Thanks Lacey!) mentioned that she had some serious smudging while modging. I am not sure if I was able to avoid this because of the viscosity of my modpodge or if it was the technique in which I applied. BUT, Lacey made a wonderful discovery for any of you who might have this same issue. Using the ModPodge clear acrylic sealer beforehand prevents any and all smudging! Good to hear! (If you can’t get your hands on the acrylic sealer, I have a feeling that the aerosol spray clear coat used by artists to seal chalk and charcoal sketches would work just as well.)
After arranging them in a grid on the wall, I wish I would have placed them closer together like I initially had arranged on the table. However, we are renting this stupid apartment so I am trying to keep holes in the wall to a minimum. Someday when we move, I will make sure to hang them a little closer together.
Overall, I am proud of this project and how it turned out! I think Zac appreciates it too :)
For those of you who wish to purchase a custom lyric arrangement printed on cardstock to complete this project on your own, you can place and order in my Etsy shop here.
This past weekend was our church’s annual Pig Roast!!! This is a BIG deal. At least for our family and close friends. I counted Saturday morning and realized that it was my 17th picnic! I have only missed ONCE since we moved here to Florida. The Pig Roast has always been one of the highlights of spring in FL before the sauna of summer ensues.
For entertaining the primary kids (children ages 4-11), the youth and bishop recommended a fishing activity they put on in the past and was a huge hit. The basics are a strung-up sheet in which the kids toss a fishing line over and reel it back with big “catch,” typically candy.
My craft OCD quickly overcame me and I decided that a plain bedsheet simply would not do. I was inspired by these felt aquarium magnets at the Purl Bee. And that was all it took. The rest of the week every time Zac saw me I was cutting little felt creatures which I embroidered with french knots and straight stitches for added texture.
I bought the flat sheet in blue, to save me time from painting it, from Walmart for $5. I bought two wooden poles 3 yds at the Home depot for $2.50 each and sewed the top and bottom of the sheet in about 2 inches. I also stitched closed both runs at the same end of the sheet. That way, when I turned the sheet landscape, I could slip the poles into my new pockets. The poles could then be hammered into the ground and the sheet could be free-standing. (However Zac and I realized that the weight of the sheet either requires the poles to be staked similar to a tent or you need to use longer poles than I in the ground.)
I promise I will be better at taking pictures of me in-the-process so that you can better understand my descriptions. In the meantime, these photos of the finished product will have to do….
Melissa bought a variety of candy as well as mini playdough tubs. The best way to attach the “catch” is to remove the hook from the kiddie-pole lines and replace with a bull-dog clip you can fasten the candy with.
And it seems to have been well received!