Hello, everyone! I wrote about the creation of my barn attic studio in the summer issue of In Her Studio Magazine (out in stores like Barnes and Noble next week!) It was a special & intimate story for me to tell, giving me a chance to document a rollercoaster time in my life — these strange & wonderful years after pregnancies & births & new life & the whiplash of it all. If you read it & relate, I would love to hear from you. I really do hope you’ll get a chance to read the inspiring collection of stories in this oh so beautiful magazine.
Oh just standing here in my little pink kitchen reading about my little pink kitchen in Food Network Magazine!!
You know what is really cool about this? As pretty as it looks, my little kitchen in this photo is imperfect & full of real life. A vintage drawer pull is crooked - because my babies stand there and spin it while they wait for me to wash their blueberries or scoop their yogurt. A pink paint stain on the concrete countertop, that I eventually removed with sand paper, is still visible here. A freshly washed cutting board is drying in the sink, and that window ledge needed to be repaired since the day we moved in. I didn’t paint my kitchen pink for Instagram, I painted it because I wanted to live somewhere inspiring. I cut those flowers because I wanted to be surrounded by their scent.
When Food Network asked if they could use the high-resolution version of this image, I didn’t have anything to give them but this quick iPhone snap. So as fun (and surprising!) as it is to see my kitchen in this magazine, you should know this was never my goal. I want to LIVE beautifully, slowly, and simply and along the way I am oh so happy to share to pictures of this beautiful life with you!!
The long, cold, gray Ohio winter made me do it. :)
fabrics faded from the sun
patina on a chandelier
rare pieces, the survivors of time
quality, character, age
the perfectly imperfect
a fresh purpose
a past story that lives on with new life
This week I began what is, in my opinion, the most bothersome, or maybe inconvenient, part of gardening: hardening off seedlings. It’s not difficult, just a bit of a hassle, but of course, necessary to ensure the strongest, healthiest plants.
The process of hardening off the young plants involves shuffling trays of seedlings in and out of the growing space to slowly acclimate to the weather outside. You do not want to shock your small plants, so you must do this slowly, over the course of a week or so.
The easiest way I have found to slowly acclimate seedlings is to take the plants outside for one hour the first day, two hours the second day, three hours the third day and so on, for a total of seven hours/days. If I miss a day because of bad weather or a busy schedule, I just start again where I left off, adding a single hour every day.
It is important not to put the plants in direct sunlight until the end of the seven days, because the tender leaves will burn. I put my plants on our back deck in the shade of our house for the first few days, and later in week of hardening off, I move them under a large tree, so they get dappled sunlight and shade.
At the end of the week, I plant the seedlings into their permanent place in the garden, which is a delightful part of gardening, full of anticipation and happy baby plants!
Today I started a few seeds that will grow to become beautiful spring blooms, some, I am hoping, to arrive as early as April. All of the flowers started today thrive in cooler temps. It is only January here in Ohio (Gardening Zone 6) and we have many freezing days and nights ahead of us, so I’ve only started the seeds that can appreciate the cold weather… like I never will:) Can’t wait for that summer sunshine!
Here are the seeds I started today:
(with links so you can start them too!)
I started the seeds in a basic seed starting soil in trays, and I have them on heat mats where they will stay until the seeds sprout! At that point, I will turn on some grow lights and in a few weeks, I should have some happy, healthy plants ready to be moved out to the hoop houses.
I’ll check back in then, and let you know how they look. I would love to hear about your own seed starting adventures— Send me and email or DM on Instagram!
An unfinished attic, filled with moving boxes, furniture, and a decade of dust… but all I could see was the ideal place to make a massive, creative mess. By the year’s end, this space will have seen the floor splattered with paint and scattered with petals, but right now, it is freshly painted and brimming with quiet inspiration.
I plan to use this space as an art studio, where I will create and paint and tear and glue and dream and never, ever, ever (okay maybe a few times, perhaps) clean up my messes.
I will use it as a space to arrange the flowers I have grown in my garden and pack them for delivery to the subscribers of A Summer of Garden Blooms. And I also plan to use it to practice yoga, a life-changer for me, that has not been consistent since my children were born, but that I miss and have desired to have in my routine once again.
It really is thrilling to begin a year with a new, fresh space and the room to hold all the ideas I will bring into this new year.
I am already feeling nostalgic as I type these words knowing with work and dedication to bring these ideas to life, I will be able to look back on this morning, as I sit here typing beside a cup of tea on this gray January 1, filled with gratitude and peace.
I hit publish on my first garden post last week, and soon after, I received the same question in my inbox over and over again: “Do I garden in Zone 6 like you do? How can I know?”
The USDA offers a simple calculator and a plant hardiness map right here. Simply enter your zip code and you will be given your Growing Zone in return!
Knowing your planting zone is useful when you are selecting plants that will grow well in your area, and when you are new to gardening, early success brings confidence. It is best to select seeds that will grow well in your zone.
This year, I am going to be growing flowers from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds and Johnny’s Select Seeds. Both of these companies provide incredible amounts of information about each seed they offer, and I will explain each step of the process as I grow their flowers in my garden this summer. Follow along here and with the tag #aSummerOfGardenBlooms on Instagram! And please, send any other beginner gardener questions my way. I could talk flowers allllll day long:)
2019 will be my second full year with a big backyard full of dirt! I am loving it!
After years of apartment balconies stuffed with potted, root-bound plants, this large, flat sunny parcel of land is absolutely (one of) my (many) dream(s) come true.
Recently, I read Lisa Mason Ziegler’s genius book Cool Flowers. I cannot wait to experiment by pushing the planting dates earlier and later to have the earliest spring flowers possible. Spring 2018, I planted seeds in May with my first flowers appearing at the end of June, so I am very excited about the possibility of April flowers someday…?!?! Unfortunately, I did not read Cool Flowers until October 2018, so I missed some of the earlier fall planting dates this year, but watch out 2019, I am ready for you!
The following list covers my garden’s very important planting dates. I am gardening in Northeast Ohio, Zone 6, and you are welcome to follow along and plant seeds with me. In fact, I would love it! I will be using the hashtag #aSummerofGardenBlooms on Instagram to share my planting, growing, harvesting, and floral arrangement process. You should use it too! I would love to see the loveliness you will grow in your own life. I will also freely share exactly which seeds I start, where I source them, and when I start them. Be sure to follow me on Instagram if you would like to be notified about these posts!
Also, please keep in mind, I just wrote this schedule to follow this year for the first time, so this is hugely experimental for me—but I have a good feeling it will be magic. :)
A few notes of explanation first: I have a limited number of grow lights and seed starting space, so I start seeds in waves. This also made it easy for me to stagger my planting last year, and I had a constant stream of beautiful flowers ready to cut.
I have two small plots of land covered with plastic hoop houses. They are really easy to create. Here is a great tutorial on Modern Farmer.
Now for the dates!
VERY IMPORTANT PLANTING DATES!! (ZONE 6)
January 7th - Start cool spring flowers under grow lights.
February 15th - Plant cool flower seeds + plants in hoop houses. Start new cool flower seeds under the grow lights.
March 4th - Plant cool spring seeds in the ground, covered with row cover cloth.
March 18th - Plant cool spring flower plants in the ground, covered with row cover cloth. Start summer flowers + vegetables under grow lights.
April 29th - Last spring frost. Plant cool season greens. Plant summer flowers + vegetable plants and seeds when night temps are above 50 degrees. Start next round of hot summer/fall vegetables and flowers under grow lights.
End of May - Plant next round of vegetable and flower plants in the garden.
End of June - Start fall vegetable seeds under grow lights.
July 18th - Plant fall cool vegetables in the garden.
August 29th - Begin fall planting of spring flower seeds in garden.
During the winter months, when my garden is not in bloom, I forage in my backyard for wild grasses, berries, or evergreen branches and arrange my finds with a mix of store-bought flowers— even the most simple grocery store bouquet can look luscious this way.
Here are some absolutely lovely photos captured by Milk Shop Photography to show you what I mean.
All images in this post created by the incredibly brilliant Naida Gazdick of Milk Shop Photography
Well, dream job!
I wandered around my garden and cut a few handfuls of fresh spring flowers to fill each of The Growing Candle’s empty candle pots.
I sat in my sunny sunroom and painted a shimmering portrait of each one.
I sent them off to The Growing Candle where they were reproduced beautifully onto cards that will now be included with every purchase of a candle.
Enjoyment at every step of this floral-filled process.
Thank you, Hyggelight!
Forget the hustle and bustle of a shopping place.... holiday spirit is in your backyard, or maybe in the strip of woods that grows along your apartment parking lot (I know this from experience.)
Almost any long skinny foliage can be turned into a wreath, and after some experimentation with different found weeds and flowers, you’ll learn which local offerings will stay evergreen or dry nicely.
Remembering to dry flowers during the summer will give you some fun extras to play with for winter wreath making. If you didn’t dry any flowers this summer, maybe put it on your Summer 2019 bucket list!
I used a paper ribbon wrapped around the ends of a long, skinny branch to form a circle. You can use anything from ribbon to tape to strips of cloth. Just form a circle and wrap the ends until the circle holds firm.
Next make little bouquets of flowers from your foraged or dried foliage. You can tie these bouquets with a simple string. You’ll need 10-20 bouquets to create a thick full wreath, but you can use just 3 or 4 to create a simple style.
Tie the bouquets onto your circular branch.
You can use extra lengths of string to compress the bushy parts of the bouquets to form a circle.
Tuck dried flowers into the spaces near the string. You can dip the ends of the stems into glue to hold them in place, but I prefer the challenge of creating with only nature when at all possible. :)
Now the fun part of finding the perfect bare space to fill with your floral creation. Or give it away to spread that holiday cheer!