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Painted Plant Marker Tutorial

Gardening is a great, useful way to perk up your outdoor areas. I love my balcony container garden, I always have fresh herbs at hand. I get to cultivate my favorite veggies, and it adds comfort and beauty to my view.

With the amount of plants I grow in my small space, sometimes I can't remember which plants are which variety. I don't like to keep the tags that come with seedlings (what, they don't match!) and I start about half my plants from seeds as well. This technique is great for an at-a-glance of what is what, is inexpensive, easy, and can be completely customized.

For this project you'll need:

Craft sticks
Acrylic paint
Paint brushes
Surface protector (I use a reusable drawer liner)
Permanent marker or paint pen

Paint craft stick
Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

Coat both sides of craft stick with paint. A brighter background color is usually better so you can label your plants easily.

Cover all the edges, and put a second coat on the front side of the stick. With the yellow, I actually did 3 coats on the front so it would be nice and vibrant.

Paint veggie illustrations
Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

At the top of each stick, illustrate the vegetable, fruit, or herb you are growing. This is definitely optional. You can also use a stamp and paint, or use the same design on each stick. Omit it if you'd like.

I like to have the veggie at the top so I know kind of what I'm expecting. It's also just cute!

Newly Labeled Plants
Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

Allow paint to dry completely. Label craft sticks with permanent marker or paint pen, leaving a few inches at the bottom of the stick to insert into the ground.

Place stick close to plant, and enjoy your newly labeled garden!

Chalkboard Starter Pots Tutorial

In this tutorial, we'll be learning how to make our own reusable chalkboard seed starter pots. Use these pots to plant seeds, label with chalk to know which seedling is which. Once you plant your new sprout, rinse off the chalk and start again! Use them season after season. No waste.

You'll need for this project:

Several terra cotta pots with a flat rim
Chalkboard paint (I chose black, but you can also get it in green)
Screw driver
Paint Brush
Paper Towels and Covered Painting Surface

Wipe surface clean
Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

Using a moist (but not wet) paper towel, wipe any dirt, pottery dust, or debris from the area you'll be painting. Set aside and let dry, which doesn't take long.

Apply first coat of paint
Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

Holding the pot in your non-dominant hand as shown, rest the entire side of your hand on the working surface. This creates stability. Place your working hand in position to paint the rim, but extend your pinky and rest the entire side of that hand on the working surface as well.

Putting your brush loaded with paint to the rim, allow the bristles to widen out. Holding the brush in the same position, slowly rotate the pot away from you. Not moving the brush gives you more control to create an even line that is straight on both sides.

Gently lift off when you need more paint, and start again, slightly overlapping previous beginning and end points.

After first coat is completely dry, finish with a second coat of chalkboard paint. Make this layer a little thicker and try for as even a finish as possible. This layer will not sink into the terra cotta as much, so it will look a little more like its original placement than the previous.

Set aside to dry completely, approximately 45 minutes to an hour. (Note: if you're using this paint on a less-porous surface, it may take longer for each layer to dry.)

A selection of drying pots
Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

Here's all my pots, lined up and drying. When they're completely ready, fill each pot with soil, plant seeds, dust rim, then label edge with chalk. Water, and wait for your little babies to sprout!!

Baked Ziti

Baked Ziti
Originally uploaded by theartofmegan


12 oz bag pasta
1 can tomato sauce
1 can diced tomatoes
1 small can tomato paste
1 can Italian style stewed tomatoes
1 cup mozzarella, grated
1 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, coarsely grated
1 cup ricotta cheese

Heat oven to 375. Boil pasta, drain. In pasta pan, combine all tomato products except stewed tomatoes. Heat on medium low until beginning to simmer, stirring often. Add ricotta cheese, mozzarella, and 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese. Return pasta to pan, stir well to combine.

Pour pasta and sauce mixture into a 13 x 9 x 2 glass baking dish, pressing out to the sides of the dish. Arrange sliced stewed tomatoes across top of pasta, and cover the top with remaining Parmesan cheese.

Place in oven uncovered for 20 to 25 minutes, checking top at 15 minutes for browning and melted cheese. Remove from oven and let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

The squirrels got to my garden

My poor, freshly planted garden.

As you can see, the chives were completely uprooted. I didn't get to them in time. The oregano lost a chunk up front, but enough survived that when it starts to do well I'm sure we'll have no issues.

Turns out squirrels enjoy the smell of fresh dirt, and also enjoy crushing the dreams of a yummy spring garden.

No big loss, it's early and I started a bunch of different seeds today, organic chives included. We'll see how it all goes.

There was various digging in the several pots of tomato plants i have going as well. This one got the worst damage, with a hole dug a little deeper than my fist near the roots of two of the plants. The dirt was also scattered quite thoroughly across my formerly-clean balcony.

Dang squirrels. I'll have to come up with a solution here very soon.

Easy Peasy Craft Swap, April 2008

Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

I participated in my first craft swap on! I had a great partner by the screenname of Stick, and she made me a great package!

Here are all my items wrapped up and waiting for me with cute little hint notes. She also sent me a cute card.

Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

Here are all of my beautiful items unwrapped! She made me a fantastic set for my dining room. Look at the beautiful pattern on the fabric! The other side of the coaster and place mats are vinyl for moisture protection, and the napkins have a great leaf stitch border!

She also made me a great little swap journal, perfect for a first time swapper! I cannot believe how thoughtful she was.

Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

Here's what I made for Courtney (sn stick on for her swap gift. She loves polka dots, and she has some great colors in her sewing area. She has been hoping to add more green to the area, so I decided to do so :)

The needle book is designed with a pin-cushion cover. She has a small sewing area, so I decided space saving was a plus. Besides, keeping all like items in one place is something I'm trying to employ in my craft area, and maybe this will help her do the same!

There's also a box of long green pins, and a retractable push-button sewing tape.

Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

The needle book has alternating colored fabric pages, and alternating strips of fabric for needle placement. I filled each page with different types of needles, but made sure to leave plenty of room for her own collection.

Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

The fabric-covered sewing tape has a star embroidered where the push-button retractor is. It's got a ribbon hand-embroidered over the edges as well, and has inches on one side and centimeters on the other.

All in all, I had a great time crafting for Courtney! She was a great swap partner and I had so much fun in my first craft swap. You can bet I'll be doing another. And soon.

WOTD - April 9, 2008 - The Burlesque Forum

Why do I love burlesque so much? Is it because I love the freedom an artistic, naked woman expresses? Is it because there's just something amazing about great lingerie, great boobs, and great pasties? What about the showmanship and creativity? All of the above!

Here's a great forum I found while browsing tonight:
The Burlesque Forum
I love the video clips and great burlesque snippets and questions. Really makes me want to take the hula hooping class with my friend Rachel that starts at the end of the month. At the ending class of the session, you light your hoops on fire! I mean come on, how cool is that?

WOTD - April 8, 2008 - Green Living Ideas

I really enjoyed checking this site out today. I read several articles out of their food and cuisine section, as well as four or five in the fashion and beauty section. I like that there are several different topics to browse through and lots of great tips and resources to assist you in making the right choices for yourself and for the earth.

Green Living Ideas

I have a feeling I'll be popping back there every so often.

WOTD - April 7, 2008 - 2-mile Challenge

I live less than 2 miles from work. As a matter of fact, it'd be a shorter distance if I rode my bike than if I drove. Yet, I drive to work every day. What the heck? I even have a bike, it just needs new tires. *Sigh* What is wrong with me?

Here's something cool I saw tonight while surfing: Clif Bar 2-Mile Challenge

I am going to do the math very soon to figure out how much it will cost to get my bike up and running with new tires, a lock, and a new seat if i need it. However much it is, I'm going to spend so much less on and conserve so much gas if I'm riding my bike. Plus, think about how good the buns are gonna look!

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