5 Questions to ask before planting a flower bed

5 Tasks before planting

Have you ever visited your local plant nursery at the beginning of spring when all of their bright and colorful plants are out, and suddenly you have a trunk full of flowers and no idea what happened or where you are going to put them? It’s okay, we’ve all been there. Before the nursery tempts you with their bright beauties ask yourself these 5 questions.

5 questions to ask before planting a flower bed

What is the purpose of this bed?

What do you want out of the flowers in this bed? Do you want flowers you can cut and bring inside for arrangements? Do you want to add some curb appeal to the front of your home? Or is it to simply make you smile when you look at it? All are valid answers, but they will influence which flowers you need.

What is my time availability to care for the bed?

Flower range in their neediness. Ask yourself how much time you want to spend watering, pruning, weeding etc.. A perennial garden with low maintenance plants will require much less time than other growing options. Pick your flowers according to the time you can give them.

What is my budget for this project?

There, I’ve gone and mentioned the “B” word. Now it is out in the open. Realistically, what do you want to spend on the bed? This not only includes the cost of the flowers, but also, fertilizer, mulch, and any necessary tools. You can spread the costs out over a couple seasons if you like. If you plant perennials, you may have a higher starting cost, but they will be around for multiple seasons. If you prefer annuals, your money is only for one season of flowers.

That can add up after a while, but  a bed can be built up over a couple seasons to spread out costs. You can buy anchor plants first and fill in at a later time. Also try asking your gardening friends if they have any flowers they are dividing at the end of the season. Plants like day lilies, iris and hostas can be divided as they mature and can be shared with friends.

How much sun does the bed receive?

When choosing flowers a key piece of information on the tag is the amount of sunlight it requires. Placing a plant in the wrong spot can kill it before its time. I learned this the hard way after frying my hosta plants in the Kansas sun. Pick a day where you can observe the bed at different times to gauge how much sun it received throughout the day. If you are doing this in winter and you have trees in the yard. Be aware that plants may receive less light when the leaves grow back on the trees.

What flowers do I love?

Finally after taking in all your other answers, pick flowers you love that fit those criteria. What are your favorite varieties? What colors do you love? If you need some help identifying what your favorite flowers need, I frequently use or to help me out.  Combine that with your knowledge from above, and you can now visit the local nursery with confidence to choose flowers that you love and will live happily in your garden.
What lessons have you learned planting flower beds?

Posted by Morgan in DIY, Gardening, 0 comments

Painting The Ugly Brick Backsplash

Before and After

Before and After

How I brought our ugly brick backsplash into the 21st century with a little paint.

I’m not sure who thought it would be a good idea to use red brick facade as a kitchen backsplash. Maybe in the early ’90s it paired well with the oak cabinets and yellow walls, but today we’re bringing the kitchen into this century and giving it a crisp clean look. Eventually I’ll paint the kitchen a light airy blue/green color and painting the backsplash in a light gray will complement that nicely. Here is how I tackled this project!

Before Kitchen


  • Masking tape
  • Old paint brush
  • Cardboard
  • Damp towel or paper towels (for drips)
  • Primer
  • Satin latex paint (or glossier finish)
  • Paint can opener or screwdriver
  • Shop Vac or vacuum with brush attachment

Clean the brick

Preparing the brick is key to this project! Brick and mortar have such a rough texture all the dust and grime get caught really easily in all the nooks and crannies. Use a shop vac or vacuum hose with the brush attachment and work across the entire surface. If yours was greasy like mine near the stove use a grease cutting cleaner and rag to remove all the residue.

Remove hardware

Remove any light or electrical faceplates for easy painting. This will ensure complete coverage incase you want to change faceplates at a later date.

Remove faceplates

For projects like this I put all the plates and screws in a zip bag so those tiny screws don’t get away from me. Plus if your project takes an extended amount of time you can label the bag so you know exactly where they go back to.

Bag the pieces

Masking tape

Protect the surrounding areas with tape. No matter how precise of a painter I think I am, I always get paint where I don’t mean to. For this project, I took the time to protect all the cabinetry with tape.

Mask edges

I did not tape off the counter ledge. I struggled to get the tape down under the edge of the brick and onto of the counter. Instead I cut up a thin cardboard box and used it to stop the paint and it worked pretty effectively.

Cardboard paint catcher

Just move it along the edge as you paint.


The brick was so porous and bright, I opted for BEHR all in one primer. Use an old paint brush for this project. To get into all the crevices, I found I had to almost scrub the brush back and forth at different angles to get good coverage.

Prime the brick


Once the primer has dried you can jump right into painting! I used BEHR Ultra Satin Enamel in Dolphin Fin. Because the kitchen has a high potential for spaghetti sauce to fly and the need to be able to wipe down the brick is high, I chose a glossier paint than maybe what you’d put on the wall. The satin was a good compromise between ease of cleaning as shininess.

When painting be sure to hold your brush at different angles to get complete coverage.

All angles

Change your perspective frequently as you paint. It is easy to think you have covered an area to only get lower or shift to the side and see missed sections.

Finishing Touches

Once the paint dries, look for missed spots and touch up. Remove the masking tape and install any faceplates.


The change to our kitchen is immense! It is bright and fresh now.

Before Kitchen
Finished backsplash

We are transforming our kitchen one project at a time. Can you spot all the changes? We moved the refrigerator across the room and put a dishwasher in its place with a cabinet we built and a counter top from Habitat Restore. We tore out the range hood and replaced it with an over the range microwave. Now we don’t hit our heads anymore while cooking! The random blue glass and florescent light over the sink is gone and replaced with LED strip lights above the sink and under the cabinets. Soon all the walls will have a new skim coat and they will be ready to paint.

Have you painted brick before? What did you learn from that project?

Posted by Morgan in DIY, 0 comments

How To – Make a Two Ribbon Bow

How To – Make a Two Ribbon Bow

There are many projects where you need a beautiful bow as a finishing touch. Below are written and video instructions so you can make a show stopping bow for yourself!


-Sharp pair of scissors

-1 chenille stem (pipe cleaner)

-12 feet of 1 1/2 inch wired ribbon

-12 feet of 2 1/2 inch wired ribbon

Large Loops

Start by laying your smaller ribbon (green) on top of the larger one (red). Make a large loop by taking about 12 inches of ribbon and folding it over. It is important to keep the smaller ribbon always facing out.

Once you have a loop, twist your ribbon 180 degrees so the back of the ribbon is facing up. Do this right where your center point will be. Hold the twist in place with your thumb.

Make a second loop by taking 12 more inches and folding it over. The 12 inches should end in the center where your thumb is holding the twist. Now make another 180 degree twist in the ribbon. You should again be looking at the back side of the large ribbon. This is the rhythm of making the bow – Loop, Twist, Loop, Twist…

With your first two loops in hand, bend your bow in half to make sure your loops are even. Once you know they are the same length, they can be used as a guide for following loops.

Repeat your loops rhythm (loop, twist, loop, twist) until there are six loops. Three on each side.

Small Loops

The next loop will be about 4 inches shorter (8 inch length). Twist and make a total of 4 small loops.

Finish off with an even smaller loop by twisting the ribbon so the small ribbon is facing out and wrap a loop over your thumb that is holding everything. Then cross the ribbon under your thumb. It will look like this.

Chenille Stem

Take your chenille stem and thread it through the smallest loop. Hold it in place with your thumb and turn the whole bow upside down.

Fold the chenille stem up and twist it tightly around the center of the bow where your thumb had been applying pressure. Not only does the chenille hold the bow together, but you can use the ends to fasten it to other projects like a package or wreath.

Trim Tails

Trim both tails to your desired length with an angle or “V” cut. Tails can be left long for dramatic effect of cut shorter to match the round shape of the finished bow.

Shaping the Bow

Lay the bow flat on the table and spread out each loop so they are evenly dispersed in a circle. Don’t worry if the loops are flat.

Insert your fingers inside a loop and lift the top of the loop, curving it and adding volume.

Take the wide ribbon and narrow ribbon and pull them horizontally away from each other. This doubles the loops your bow has and quickly adds volume. Rotate your bow and repeat these two steps with every loop. I did not separate the smallest center loop because I liked the look of it together, but feel free to experiment until you achieve a look you like.

Once all the loops have been fluffed up, tweak the placement of them until you are satisfied with the final look.

There you go! A beautiful two tone bow perfect for your next project.

Have any questions or tips about the bow? Leave them in the description box below so others can learn too!

Posted by Morgan in Crafts, DIY, Gifts, 0 comments

DIY Tropical Leaf Wall

Bring the island vibe to your next party with this Leaf Wall!

Check out the full video on my Youtube channel –

First you will need to cut out about 100 leaves for the wall. Below I have provided my own leaf patterns as pdf and svg. Cut them from either 12×12″ or 11×17″ 65lb card stock.

Once you have all the leaves fold them down the center and curl the edges. Then pin the leaves in a random fashion to the foam backdrop.

Posted by Morgan, 1 comment

DIY Saddle Sand Bag

When you need to hold something in place this portable saddle sand bag is a great solution. Make one for yourself in 15 minutes!

Supplies & Tools

  • 1 yard duck canvas
  • 1″ wide belting/strapping
  • 2 – 1 gallon zip bags
  • 10 lbs play sand
  • Sewing machine
  • Scissors or rotary cutter
  • Ruler or tape measure
  • Scale
  • scoop or cup

Watch Instructions

Written Instructions

Posted by Morgan, 1 comment