mama-junebug-coloring

A Big, Big Project

It’s been year of change for us here on the homestead! At home, we are busily transforming our new space into a homestead. At work, I decided to leave my job last fall and am now blissfully happy balancing residential projects with creating nature-play spaces for Learning Landscapes Design. Life feels very full! But our biggest project… Read more »

evergreen-huckleberry-buds

Winter Awakening

I love the quiet of winter and stillness of it all. The cold and rain forces us inside, pleading with us to slow down. Yet in between rain showers there are signs of late-winter life and a hint that spring is closer than we might think. You can find varieties of heaths and heathers to bloom at anytime… Read more »

play-kitchen

DIY: Upcycled Play Kitchen

Juniper loves to help – in the garden, in the kitchen or wherever we happen to be. So when my Aunt T called me from a thrift store and said, “There’s an old cabinet here that could really make a cute play kitchen…” I just had to say yes. And so began a do-it-yourself Christmas… Read more »

egg-basket

Lighting the Chicken Coop

To light or not to light the chicken coop? For many chicken keepers, that is the wintertime question. Chickens and other egg-laying creatures (like ducks) take a hiatus from producing eggs in the winter – and it’s natural for them to do so. The decreased sunlight tells them it’s not a good time to make… Read more »

Edible Landscaping with a Permaculture Twist, by Michael Judd

Planting Near Black Walnut

Every garden has its unique set of challenges, which is part of the reason I love garden design so much. There’s always a new problem to wrestle with in creating the perfect urban oasis. One particularly pesky problem is trying to plant near an existing Black Walnut tree. These trees are giant, strong, majestic specimens… Read more »

seeds

Spring Garden Prep

There might be snow or ice on the ground where you live, but it’s already time for some spring garden prep. Here are a few productive ways to get started: Decide What to Grow Think about what you buy most frequently from the grocery store and grow that this year! Even better, think about what… Read more »

torrey-pines

Beating the Winter Blues

It’s wonderful living in the temperate rain forest that is the Pacific Northwest, but the rainy days of winter do take their toll come January. Here’s a few tips to help you beat any winter blues that might be creeping up. Get Away This year we were fortunate to take a winter escape down to… Read more »

christmas-eve

Holiday Recap

Here is a little peek into what our Christmas celebration looked like this year. It started with a lively and wonderfully chaotic massive meal with my family. Not often do me and my three siblings get to be together, so it was a riot. And our band of kids loved bouncing off the frenzied energy… Read more »

solstice-swag-arrangement

Winter Solstice Swag

You might be facing a daunting coming weekend – the last one before Christmas. It’s frenzied, rushed and every minute counts to finish shopping and check everything off your holiday to-do list. But take a moment this Sunday, December 21st, to observe the winter solstice. It’s the shortest, darkest day of the year. For me,… Read more »

fireplace-finished

DIY Fireplace Redo

Our remodeling to-do list is about a mile long ever since we bought our fixer-upper house this summer. With chilly temperatures outside, I’ve finally had a good excuse to stay inside and knock a few off the list. This past week: rehabbing our cosmetically-challenged fireplace. A fireplace was on my “must have” list for our… Read more »

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  • closet-reading-nook

    Juniper’s New Room

    It has been about three months since we moved into our new digs and I can finally say that at least one room looks the way I want it. Everything else – inside and out – is a work in progress and in some degree of construction. But let’s not focus on that overwhelming fact…… Read more »

  • Orchard-harvest

    Portland Fruit Tree Project

    Since I am gardenless this season after our recent move, I am completely dependent on local farms and generous friends to help fill our harvest basket. I was delighted to discover a local non-profit called the Portland Fruit Tree Project just as harvest season began to roll in, which has kept us up to our… Read more »

  • distressed-vintage-dresser

    DIY Distressing Furniture

    Distressing furniture doesn’t mean your furniture is feeling panicked. It’s a term used to describe the process of making furniture pieces look weathered – also called shabby-chic. I’m in the process of going room by room at our new house to try to blend a homestead feel into our new digs and Juniper’s room is my… Read more »

  • tree-skeletons

    Painting a Mural

    I did a lot of laboring over Labor Day weekend! Our new house is a cosmetic fixer, complete with old carpet and wallpaper in every room. Everywhere I look I see a new project, which has been overwhelming. So my new method to this madness is to finish one room at a time. Juniper’s room… Read more »

  • sedge

    Decorating with Botanical Prints

    The boxes are all unpacked and the garden design is done – soon to be installed this fall. In the meantime, it’s time to start the cosmetic makeover inside our house. I don’t want my love for nature to stop at the door, so I spent some time and a little money on second hand… Read more »

  • Print

    How to Design Your Own Garden

    Plant design is one of my passions and part of what led me down the road to landscape architecture. You would think the opportunity to design my own homestead from scratch would be easy-peasy, right? Wrong. As it turns out, designing my own garden is a challenge. I don’t have that fresh perspective that I… Read more »

  • mom

    My First Quilt

    This has been a very unusual summer on our homestead. We are still getting settled into our fixer-upper house and busily working on garden plans. But perhaps the most important part of this summer was receiving the devastating news that my mom’s breast cancer has spread to her brain. In an instant, my image of… Read more »

  • finished-shed-chicken-coop

    Chicken Coop Shed Combo

    We’re slowly working on getting settled into our new homestead, which came with a dilapidated shed in the backyard. I specifically recall the house listing stating “shed has no value”. Although it was a major eye sore, I saw the potential for both garden tool storage and a sturdy chicken coop. A local contractor rehabbed… Read more »

  • pea-seeds

    Why Practice Crop Rotation?

    It’s time to start planting your fall crops. I know, I know… it seems crazy to think about winter when it’s a bazillion degrees outside, but it’s true. Before you start sowing seeds though, be strategic about where things get planted by practicing crop rotation. Put simply, crop rotation means you plant each type of… Read more »