Planning a Potager Garden

It's almost Spring!!!  Hooray!  
Every year, my dear husband plants his garden.
This year, he is letting me take over and make a few changes to the overall layout before he starts planting.  
We are excited to get this process going.

As I map out a plan, I googled Images of a Potager Garden.  
This one by Douglas Vanderhorn Architects made me gasp...

Brick! Brick! Brick! and a darling little potting shed.  
Be still my heart!!

But alas, we don't have the space or the moolah for this, so we will have to figure out something a little more cost effective. 

This garden has more of an "Eleven Gables" feel.  I love the stacked stone wall, concrete planters spilling over with flowers, an open gate begging you inside, the crunch of a gravel path underfoot, clipped boxwood, and ivy climbing up an old potting shed.  It's the perfect English Garden to me. 

Here is the side yard that we will be transforming:

This view is where the entry to the garden will be.
Can't you just imagine a little pergola covered with roses leading you into a beautiful garden abundant with food and flowers?

This is the opposite end looking back toward the "entry."  At this back end will be a greenhouse some day.

We have approximately 90 feet total in length and 20 feet in width.

The only issue we really have is that the previous owners bought this little strip of land from the neighboring property years ago.  It juts into their property.  When the current owners built, they didn't follow code and drain to the street.  Instead, their entire property drains onto our property.  This has made for a very awkward and sticky relationship with the neighbors.  Anyway, it looks like we will have to incur the costs of rerouting their water so as to prevent further flooding to our property.  We could possibly attain this with french drains and retaining walls.  

As I ponder over the next steps, I want to share some of my inspiration I have found with you..

THIS edible garden design book shows you how to mix florals and edibles together in your landscape.

And THIS book is my very, very favorite gardening book of all time.  

There are only a few copies available at the time I am writing this....  hurry and pick one up! You won't be disappointed.  It is full of gorgeous images and ideas on what makes the perfect southern garden.  Buy a copy HERE!

Today, I have taken the time to get some of my thoughts/ideas on paper.  I always pull out the graph paper to begin my process.  This allows me to visualize the garden and get an idea for placement.  Every square represents one square foot.  I can start shopping for the appropriate sized raised beds and other accessories that will be needed in order to get this process started.  We can also figure out how we want to deal with the neighbor's water run off.

I'm going to ponder this over the weekend and see what my dear husband thinks of the direction we are heading.

I always love your thoughts and comments.

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* links to products you may be interested in purchasing are included within this post.   I make a tiny commission off your purchase, but it does not increase the price for you.  I encourage you to purchase through your favorite blogger's links.  This is how we earn an income so that we can continue to provide you with beautiful, quality posts.  Thank you!

My favorite faux topiary for Outside

Spring is right around the corner and I am busy planning our garden.  One of my little gardening secrets I want to let you in on is FAUX Boxwood Topiary.  Yes, I said it.  I'm sure it is frowned upon within the elite gardener groups, but here in Oklahoma, I can't seem to keep topiaries alive.  The dry winters and hot hot summers have killed my expensive topiary year after year. I'm sure it has nothing to do with my forgetting to water them.

My favorite topiary:

I ordered these five years ago and they have held up so well.  I will be placing another order for two more so I can keep two on either side of the bench and two on either side of the front door.  

You can purchase them
(as most of you know, if you purchase them through my links I get a commission.  Commissions don't increase the price to you, but allow me to make a small amount of income so that I can continue to blog.  Thank you for supporting me!)

When you receive your topiaries, they come in a box like this: 

See that tiny pot? That is simply for weight....

Just pop the topiary into a larger planter....
 I used THESE
They look like antique iron boxes for less than $50.00 each!

Place old rocks or bricks inside planter and around the small topiary pot to give weight and keep the topiary from blowing over.

I live in Oklahoma, so we get pretty windy over here... make sure the bricks keep the topiary from moving at all.

Finally, top the planter off with mulch or moss to hide the bricks inside.

Last but not least, FLUFF THOSE BRANCHES!! :)

I know the topiaries are a little pricey, but I really consider them an investment.  I have wasted so much money by throwing away dead boxwood topiaries.  
Another little thought... I don't know whether these perform well in full sun.  They are on my covered porch.  They do get some morning sun.  ***UPDATE*** I have had several reports from happy topiary owners who purchased these years ago saying that the faux topiaries are holding up wonderfully in full sun!!

What are your thoughts about FAUX plants?  I'd love to hear in the comments!

Be sure and watch my Instastories for Gardening tips and life with "the Girls of Eleven Gables"

Happy Gardening!!

xx,  Emily

Happy New Year!

Another year has come and gone.  
It's been full of joy, pain, happiness, and sorrow.  I've learned a lot, but always ready for new beginnings.  The Lord has impressed upon my heart a few words for the year.  Yes, I know that is the trend these days, but when the Lord spoke to me He did it so clearly.  I wanted to write it here, on the internet, so it will be burned forever upon my heart.  

Throughout His Word, the Bible, God commands us to 
"Fear not (Do Not Be Afraid)." 
Why would He say that to us so many times?  It's been said he used that and similar wording in the Bible over 365 times.  The enemy's most popular weapon against us is Fear.  
"The Lord is my light and my salvation-whom shall I fear?  The Lord is the stronghold of my life-of whom shall I be afraid?" 
Psalm 27:1

God is with me.  God is with you.  He gives us the 
we need to live in peace... feeling safe, stable and free from fear or anxiety.
"The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me.  My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him." Psalm 28:7

May this reminder from Psalm 91 give you 
 as you approach the New Year!
"He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.  I will say of the Lord, 'He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.' He will save you from hidden traps, shielding you from deadly hazards.
He will cover you with His feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and defense.
FEAR NOTHING-not wild wolves in the night, not flying arrows in the day, not disease that prowls through the darkness, not disaster that erupts at high noon.  Even though others succumb all around, drop like flies right and left, no harm will even graze you.  
You'll stand untouched, watch it all from a distance, watch the wicked turn into corpses.  Yes, because God is your refuge, the High God your very own home, Evil can't get close to you, harm can't get through the door.  He ordered his angels to guard you wherever you go.  If you stumble, they'll catch you; their job is to keep you from falling.  You'll walk unharmed among lions and snakes, and kick young lions and serpents from the path.  
'If you'll hold on to me for dear life,' says God,
'I'll get you out of any trouble.  I'll give you the best of care if you'll only get to know and trust me. Call me and I'll answer, be at your side in bad times;  I'll rescue you, then throw you a party.
I'll give you a long life, give you a long drink of salvation!"
Psalm 91 The Message

What are you afraid of?  My prayer is that you place it at the feet of God.  Just tell Him.  Fill your fearful thoughts with His word of Truth... 
"And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing.  Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable.  Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise."  Philippians 4:8

You are beautiful.  Thank you for supporting me in life and in this blogging journey.  It means more to me than you know.

xx,  Emily

Choosing the Perfect Slim Tree for a Tight Space

Are you searching for the perfect tree?  
Not too big, not too small, 
not too short, not too tall?  
I have partnered with Tree Classics to bring you this gorgeous Kennedy Fir Tree

This is the 7.5' Kennedy Fir Slim Artificial Christmas Tree with color changing LED lights.

The Kennedy Fir Christmas Tree features Tree Classics "Quick Set" lighting system.  This innovative technology automatically connects all string lights within the trunk of the tree, so all you need to do is pop each section together and plug in the tree!  It took me less than five minutes to completely set this tree up!  I was so excited, that I immediately called a client and told her about it.  She had one ordered and set up in her entry a few days later!

The needlepoint stockings were purchased with each new baby.  I found some similar ones HERE.
The brass planter was picked up at an antique store for $20.  To raise the tree up inside the planter, I had a sweet friend make me a 16.5" square platform 8" high.  I forgot to take a photo of it down in the planter.  Ugh.  Sorry about that!
Here is what it looked like when I received it.

It just slips down into the planter and raises the tree up a smidge.

I also added the Merry and Bright Vintage Ornament Set to mix among my own vintage ornaments...

Our family ornaments are a collection of handmade, a few of both of my grandmother's ornaments, and some we have collected through the years.
I purchased my ribbon at a little shop in NYC, but found some similar for you HERE.

When my boys were little, we made this paper chain over two Christmases.  We use it on our tree every year.  It reminds me of the sweetest memories and the tiniest chubby hands with glue sticks.

See how real the branches look?  
They are so life-like.

My favorite nativity in blue and white.
This was handed down from my mother, but I would purchase THIS one in a heartbeat!

See? I do use color in my home!
My boys were MOST EXCITED about the color changing option of LED lights.  They are right and have won me over!  I love the colorful, vintage vibe that the tree is lending to our home.

Remember our Tree Classics Tree from last year? 
You can see more of it HERE!!
This year, I added the Bethlehem Star Tree Topper and Silver Sequin Tree Skirt.  I think they really finish the tree!    

Thank you, Tree Classics, for inviting me to participate in your 12 Days of Christmas. 

One last look at my vintage Christmas tree...

Merry Christmas, darlings! 
 Your comments are like a gift... 
I love to hear from you!

Here is a peek at last year's Christmas tour...
See more of it HERE!!

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* links to products you may be interested in purchasing are included within this post.   I make a tiny commission off your purchase, but it does not increase the price for you.  I encourage you to purchase through your favorite blogger's links.  This is how we earn an income so that we can continue to provide you with beautiful, quality posts.  Thank you!

How To Make a Perfect Bow and more Christmas Tips

Today, I am joining some sweet friends on a short Christmas Tips Tour.  If you are coming from Decor Gold, welcome! Jen is so very talented and has some of the best ideas, doesn't she?

Are you tired of spending $$$ on bows that just aren't exactly what you are looking for? 
I have the easiest tutorial for you!  
Grab a spool of ribbon and follow along!

Gather your supplies
I use THIS RIBBON.  Each spool makes approximately two bows with long tails.
I do not precut my ribbon.  Just start in and begin shaping your bow...

1. Make a loop 

2. Make a second loop on the opposite side

2. Cross over and continue making loops (I make three for each side of my wreath bows)

3. Cut the ribbon once you have made all of your loops

4. Flip the bow over (cut side on bottom)
This is the front of your bow

5.  Cut one piece of ribbon long enough for both tails

6.  Place the middle of the "tails" on the backside of the bow

7. Now, cut a piece about 8" long

8.  Place that shorter piece flat against the front of your bow

9.  Tie it in a knot

10.  I take the small tails and make them into a loop, securing with a couple staples
(this is what I use to secure them to my wreaths... poke a branch up through the loop and twist it with another branch)

11.  Now hold your ribbon and start fluffing it

12.  Voila!  It's done!  

You can get creative and use all sorts of ribbon for this project!  Be sure and tag me on your social media so I can see your beautiful creations!!

I'm kind of in love with THIS RIBBON too!  

Now... on to hanging the wreath
I have tried suction, smaller hooks, bigger hooks, ribbon at the top of the window... only to have my wreath fall down or get twisted up in the wind.

I've been using THESE HOOKS for four years now and the only wreath I had fall down is because I didn't wait to let the hook "set" before I hung the wreath.  You must follow the directions for the hook to work properly.  Also, if it is a cold day, I would use a hairdryer to warm the window a tiny bit before applying the adhesive.  

1. Figure out where you want your wreath to hang and place your adhesive bracket according to the directions

2.  After your adhesive has had time to "set," affix the hook

3.  Hang your wreaths

The wreaths I purchased are, of course, no longer available... story of my life.  I found THESE that are extremely similar and a great price!

Topiaries were purchased HERE and still look great with no watering after four years! ;)
Planters HERE

Blue and White Pots HERE

Front Door Trees are featured in my post HERE

Now it's time to head over to 
Randi Garrett Design 

for another Christmas Decorating Tip!!  Isn't her living room GORGEOUS??
You will want to continue through all of these blogs... they are some of my favs!
Decor Gold Designs 
 Eleven Gables
Randi Garrett Design 
Maison de Pax
 The Leslie Style
Citrine Living
CC + Mike
So Much Better with Age

Merry Christmas, darlings!

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* links to products you may be interested in purchasing are included within this post.   I make a tiny commission off your purchase, but it does not increase the price for you.  I encourage you to purchase through your favorite blogger's links.  This is how we earn an income so that we can continue to provide you with beautiful, quality posts.  Thank you!