Thursday, October 29, 2015

My Must Have Tools for Fall Yard Clean-up

Working in the yard does not stop at the end of Summer.
I live in an old neighborhood with big trees so we spend a lot of time in the Fall on leaf cleanup.
I also like to take time in the Fall to winterize my grass, plant bulbs, and trim some of my shrubs too so that I have a pretty landscape in the Spring.
There is a lot to do before winter sets in and I have learned over the years that if you have the right tools it makes the job so much easier to tackle so I am going to share with you my favorite tools for Fall yard cleanup.
1. Hand tools
You cannot go wrong by investing in some decent hand tools. I love my pink polka dot hand tools that my brother bought for me last Christmas.
These are Waverly brand and not only are they cute, they work like a charm!
Here you can see me using my clippers to trim a bush in my back yard.
The main thing to keep in mind is that your clippers need to be sharp and have a strong blade so they cut with ease.
If you have to wiggle it, pull, or hassle with your handle as you are cutting, you can possibly damage your plants with jagged edges.
Your clipper handles should spring back easily and provide a nice clean cut.

The other two hand tools like the hand rake and spade are used most when I am planting new plants or transplanting old plants.
They should be made of metal that is strong and heavy enough to handle your weight as you break through soil. Flimsy metal may bend or chip and blunt ends will make it harder to break through the soil thus making the tools worthless.
2. Rakes
(skinny wire rake and wide fan rake)

I like to use two different types of rakes depending on what I am doing.
My skinny wire rake that I got at the dollar store is perfect for reaching tight places and getting between plants. The thin wire fingers allow the flowers and leaves to pass right through with little damage to my delicate flowers.

Here I am raking up leaves out of my delicate lamb's ear.

As for my wide fan rake, I like to use it to rake leaves.

The wider the fan the more you can rake up in one sweep, so I shopped for the widest rake I could find and I have used this for years and love it!
I get my yard cleaned up in half the time just because I get more leaves picked up with fewer passes.
3) Fire pit
In my neighborhood we are allowed to burn yard debris, so the first Summer I owned this house I ran out and bought a small fire pit and it has been one of the best purchases I have made to date!
My friends and family love hanging out on my patio around the fire pit in the Fall, plus it is an easy way to rid of small batches of limbs and leaves as you do your yard clean up, so I consider this part of my Fall yard clean up tools. Mine definitely gets a lot of use!
4. Garden Hoe

The fall is a great time to plant grass seed.
Unfortunately, I do not have an aerator or tiller so loosen my soil, but I have found that my garden hoe can do a similar job.
The prongs and the end can be jabbed into the ground to create air holes just as the aerator does, and the prongs can also break up soil just like a tiller. It is also great to use to rake up rocky soil too.
I would not recommend this method for your entire yard, but this method works great for small areas of grass that might need a patch job.
 5. Leaf Blower
This is a no brainer, but I couldn't end this post without mentioning my leaf blower since I use it all the time, especially in the Fall.
I use it to clean off my patio year-round, and to blow my leaves out of my flower beds in the Fall. I also use it to blow my leaves into a line and then mow over them.
After removing the large bushes in front I can now keep my flower bed cleaned up a lot easier by simply blowing the leaves away from the house.
So there ya have it!
My top five favorites to make your Fall yard work a little easier this year.
Have a wonderful week!
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Monday, October 26, 2015

Thrift Store Tuesday

If you have been following along for any length of time you know that I decorate my home with hand made items and thrifted finds.
My treasures are hit and miss but I love the thrill of the hunt so I go frequently even if I don't score all the time.
If you are new to the thrift store scene I hope that you are inspired by my finds and inspired to see things beyond their literal use or look.
Many things can gain new life with some spray paint or embellishment.
Ok, so that's all I have to say about that.
Now on for the goods!
I hate paying full price for baskets so I'm always on the lookout for baskets whenever I shop thrift stores.
This big basket was a little pricey for a thrift store find but It was much more affordable than buying it at full retail so I snagged it!
Right now I have it displayed in my front room on an old stool.
Then on my way out to running errands last Saturday I went for a quick Goodwill run and scored some Williams-Sonoma dishes.

These white dishes are EXACTLY what I needed for my kitchen update!

I was able to get a set of eight desert plates, one bowl, and five dinner plates.

All for a FRACTION of the retail cost!

Then there was this wire basket.
The white dishes and wire basket will make the perfect farmhouse touches to my kitchen.

I typically steer clear of Christmas and holiday décor because I have so much already, but I am a sucker for reindeer so I had to get these guys.

Ok, ok, so I also bought another Christmas item.

In my defense it was half price. :)

I love silver platters and this one is engraved with
"Merry Christmas" and just needs a cleaning so I couldn't resist!

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Now I can't wait to get my house ready for the holidays with my new finds!

If you missed it, you can see some of my previous thrift store finds HERE and HERE.

Do you have any favorite thrift stores in you neighborhood?


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Saturday, October 24, 2015

Little Fall Update with Spray Paint

As the seasons change I like to update the exterior of my  home just like I do on the inside.
Normally I change out my wreath on my front door with the season but they always get ruined from the elements, so I decided to try something new.
I have always loved houses that have a star displayed by their front door.
Its a little country, a little patriotic, and perfect for the look I was going for, so when I found this star at my local thrift store that was just the right size I had to buy it and gave it a make over.  

The red, white, and blue was great but wasn't really the look I was going for so I decided to use some paint I had on hand and paint it black.

When spray painting, I like to use my spray handle as I have shown here.

It makes the paint glide on evenly with professional results. If you don't already have one I suggest getting'll be glad you did.

So I grabbed my supplies and got busy.

I sprayed a coat then came back about 10 minutes later and went over it a second time.
Then I let it dry over night.
And voila!

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It was just the little update that my front porch needed, and because I used Rustoleum paint, it will weather the elements just fine.
So what do you think? Do you like to decorated the outside of your home?
How about wreaths? Do you update them seasonally?

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