Matchy Matchy: my Vera Bradley decoupage style notebook

I love Vera Bradley products! I love getting all of the matching accessories, from stationary to wallets that coordinate with my favorite bags.

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I must admit, I’m a little disappointed that the laptop skins are not being sold in the newest patterns. So when it was time for a new computer bag, I started with the available laptop skins, selected Hello Dahlia, then bought a bag to match!

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But there are no stationary items (that I could use) left in Hello Dahlia so I was forced to get crafty!

With the strips of adhesive laptop skin left after outfitting my computer, and a little fancy patterned packing tape, I decorated a set of Moleskin notebooks. Not bad!

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Brown Paper Packages – neighbor gifts

Each year, I enjoy giving small but thoughtful gifts to my neighbors. Last year we spent Christmas in Hawaii, so before we left we picked up a case of pineapples at Costco, tied each with a large ribbon bow and attached a gift card wishing our neighbors “Mele Kalikimaka”.

I’m a lover of brown paper packages tied up with string, and the sentiment of “My Favorite Things”. So when I saw the simple gift of wrapping paper and tape on Pinterest, I knew JUST how to make it my own!

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Don’t you just love this little gift tag?

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The brown mailing paper wrapping paper is from DollarTree, as were the rolls of Scotch tape (2-pack for $1). I found a skein of laundry line in red and white that looked like festive “string” to me! Then using my Cricut I cut gift tags that I decorated with a paper punch snowflake.

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So there you have it! Perfect gift for neighbors, friends at the office, or an unexpected holiday time houseguest!

1 roll of mailing paper
1 roll of tape
String
Small pack of gift tags
A personal gift tag with handwritten note to neighbor

Strawberry Decoys

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Have you seen the pin for strawberry rocks that are supposed to train birds not to swipe your berries? (Is this cruel or just unusual – I’m a bit conflicted)

I picked up a bag of small rocks and a strawberry-ish shade of nail polish at the dollar store to create these strawberry look-alikes. I have to take a double take in the garden, thinking I have ripened berries to pick when I glance from the window.

I’m not sure if its working, or if the swarm of hummingbirds is the real deterrent in my yard– if only those hummingbirds could keep the neighbor’s cat from leaving presents in my lawn– but so far, there are two tiny strawberries ripening. I’ll call it a success!!

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Update: the birds have stayed away from my berries! Unfortunately the decoys didn’t deter the snails 😦

What do you think?

Kool-Aid Egg Dye

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I’d like to high-five the kitchen diva who realized Kool-Aid makes a delightful dye! As pictured above, each egg dye is made from a packet of Kool-Aid and 2/3 cup of water. Lemonade flavor doesn’t do much, but Tropical Punch, Lemon-Lime, and Orange are pretty powerful.

We use about 2 dozen eggs each week around here. Zero hard boiled. So a few years ago I stopped hard-boiling Easter eggs, since the kids would dye them but no one would eat them. Instead we carefully dye raw eggs and put them back in the fridge, then when a meal requires eggs, we break that colorful shell.

One thing I noticed was when eggs are left in the dye for several minutes the shell begins to peel, like skin after a bad sunburn. You can see the mottled coloring on these eggs:

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Have you experimented with Kool-Aid dye? Which colors worked best for you?

Plant Markers

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Another cute idea I found on Pinterest- only I adapted to use my favorite medium, Sharpies, rather than painting the rocks.

Each of the rocks I used was harvested directly from my planter beds by my own children. My six year old washed each of the rocks and left them to dry in the sunshine – perfect task for her!!

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My garden beds are covered now, waiting for the soil to warm, but I have a pretty good idea of what will be planted. So while we are waiting for planting day, I’ve started marking out territory for my baby veggies!

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And I’m already dreaming of vine-ripened tomatoes…

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My first onion harvest – drying. Looking forward to storing them in pantyhose – another cute Pinterest idea!

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Corn by the Fourth of July!

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – in the Garden

Here in Southern California we have just a few weeks until the average last frost date. So it’s time to start your seeds indoors. Our neighborhood garden center is already stocked with seed packets for veggies and herbs, and I stocked up!!

This is my third season as a home gardener, so I have a game plan! I know what grows, what struggles to survive, and what doesn’t have a chance in my garden.

This season I started a Garden Journal- keeping track of my garden hopes & dreams, my plans and layouts, and the actual work that I’m doing in the garden. I needed this last year when I couldn’t recall what month I had planted my sweet potatoes.

Back to starting your seeds.

I’ve found many posts on Pinterest about making newspaper seed cups or using egg cartons (the recycled paper ones – not the polystyrene ones) to start seeds in. This year I’m trying several items that I’d ordinarily toss in the recycle bin:

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See my baby broccoli plants sprouting in this cupcake tray?

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With the lid on, it’s a mini-greenhouse.

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The egg carton is an herb nursery.

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And my sweet potato slips are getting established in origami newspaper and tea packages.

I’m happy to share my garden’s progress, and hopefully soon will have recipes with garden ingredients ready to share!!

In case you are wondering, this year’s crop includes:
Garlic
Onions
Carrots
Sweet potatoes
Rosemary
Thyme
Basil
Sage
Two varieties of tomatoes
Bell peppers
Broccoli
Green Beans
Peas
Lettuce
Spinach
Zucchini
Watermelon
Strawberries