This girl! But the only recreational use of these herbs is culinary. Let me start from the beginning. I don’t have a great track record with keeping plants alive, but I’m working on it. Through a random series of events I recently befriended my across-the-alley neighbor, Danielle, whose second child is only a few months younger than Jack. You can see a glimpse of her house in this photo from when I freshened up my secondhand patio set.

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One day while Jack and I were over for a playdate I remarked to Danielle that I really admired her herb garden and would love to have one of my own. She offered to come over and take a look at our yard and gave me all kinds of good advice. It was around the time that she was examining blades of grass between her fingers, mumbling to herself about whether it was centipede or bermuda, that I asked, “How do you know all this stuff about gardening?” and she said, “Oh, I actually got certified as a Master Gardener,” like it was no big deal! Three years I’ve lived in this house, and I am only just now realizing I live next to a Master Gardener. And she’s moving in a month! So I’m trying to put all her good advice to use while I still have her around to tell me what I’m doing wrong.

I told Danielle that I thought I’d like to put my new herb garden in this awkward corner of our yard. She showed me how to remove the grass with a shovel (she didn’t think my grass would be easily smothered, which explains why I continue to struggle with it in the veggie garden).

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I cleared a 3×9′ strip of grass that very day, then on Memorial Day, with Nick home to hang with Jack while I played in the dirt, I went to Home Depot and rented the smallest tiller they had for $35.

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The tool rental people didn’t tell me anything about how to operate it, but it was pretty straightforward and actually kind of fun. And it went way faster than I thought it would. I was back to return the tiller to HD within an hour!

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Bam. Grass and weeds be gone!

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I was originally going to build a raised bed from wood boards like I did for my vegetable garden, but as I stood in the lumber aisle I realized that getting 9-foot long boards home in my small SUV might be more trouble than it was worth. I decided to dig up some bricks that I knew were under a layer of leaves on the other side of our house and use them for edging. They were completely free and add a bit of charm. (you can see a photo of the brick path before it was covered in leaves here. So funny that Memorial Day three years ago we were working in that spot clearing a bunch of ivy!)

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Some of the bricks are stamped with “St. Joe” or “Salmen,” which means they were actually made in my hometown an hour and a half away and probably original to the house. The backyard feels awfully contemporary in contrast to the actual age of our home so it’s nice to bring some of this brick out where we can actually see and appreciate it.

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After laying out all my bricks (I tried to get them mostly level and straight but didn’t stress about perfection), I filled the bed with two bags of organic garden soil. I don’t always spring for organic, but in this case it was only a little bit more so I went for it.

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Then I planted lavender, thyme, rosemary, and basil. They were all $2 starter plants from the hardware store except for the lavender, which I’d started from seed in another pot back when I planted my vegetables.

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At Danielle’s suggestion I put some peppermint in a big pot on the deck. This way the invasive mint won’t take over the rest of the bed, and I strategically placed it near the table so it’ll release some minty fragrance anytime we brush against it.

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I’ve got a tentative master plan to ditch the pallet compost bin (since I made another one out of a trashcan) and add another brick-edged bed along the left. I can plant veggies in there and abandon the smaller bed that has grass growing beneath it. I could place a small shed between them to finally have a place to put my garden tools, and maybe put in a set of steps off this side of the deck to make it easy for us to access this little part of the yard. The weird concrete walkway creates a natural division for this area to be a dedicated garden space.

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The only thing holding me back is that sheds are almost always way bigger than we need/want and surprisingly expensive. I wish we were handy enough to build one! I will most definitely be moving my veggie garden for next year’s growing season, though. I love the idea of two brick-edged beds mirroring one another in a little garden nook separate from the rest of the yard. Speaking of my veggie garden, things are coming along swimmingly. I’ve got a couple of plump, green tomatoes I’m waiting for the perfect moment to pluck before the bugs get them and I’ve been harvesting plenty of crisp sugar snap peas (straight from the vine into my mouth. They don’t even make it inside). My cucumber plants are looking extremely promising and I hope to have some okra soon as well. I’ve found vegetables much easier to grow than shrubs or flowering plants, so let’s hope my luck extends to the herbs. It’ll be easy to remember to weed and water them when I find the bed so charming!

Hello, friends! I hope you had a glorious holiday weekend! Ours was so lovely. We had a crawfish boil at my sister’s to celebrate her birthday. It’s okay to be jealous.

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Her baby goat, Jeffrey, has gotten much less skittish since the last time we were there. We got in some quality goat cuddles!

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They just got another goat this weekend. I can’t wait to meet him!

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On Sunday we went swimming with our friends Cassie and Nic (Jack loved the pool!) and then I spent Memorial Day telling the backyard who’s boss. Can’t wait to post about my new herb garden later this week.

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May is almost over and I want to take a moment to thank my awesome sponsors. I have a new one this month! Michelle runs the blog Dixie Lust, which is all about embracing the fun, food, and culture of the Deep South. I love it. I’m definitely going to try her recipe for crock pot Cajun shrimp ASAP!

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And of course my girl Brandi is still representing her etsy shop over there on the sidebar! She’s clearly been doing much more thrifting and estate sale shopping than me because she’s got all kinds of sweet pretties listed for sale. My favorite are these pineapple candleholders. I love me some vintage brass!

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It’s back to the grind today, but I can’t tell you how grateful I am to all of you for reading. I realized last night that Friday was my 500th post! I definitely couldn’t have made it this far without the encouragement and support of my readers (oh and I guess Nick too, haha). Thank you so much and I hope you have a glorious, glorious Tuesday!

Sometimes inspiration strikes me all in one piece. Maybe I’ll see something on pinterest or facebook, or an idea will just pop into my head, and just like that I know what I want to do (examples: the mason jar lid pumpkin, $9 compost bin, hand-lettered coffee cup, etc.). Other times, I’ll start with a little spark and spend days or weeks mulling over the best way to bring it to life. For example, my first idea for the skirted counter that hides the litter box was to lay a piece of painted plywood across two short filing cabinets and hang a curtain from a tension rod suspended between them. But the more I thought about it a better plan came together. And I scoured the internet for weeks searching for an attractive and affordable option for pet food storage before finding some oversized glass canisters at Target.

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To illustrate the sometimes complex path that leads me to an end result I love I’ll lead you through the process of creating the painted storage boxes I posted about earlier this week. It all started with a need. My laundry room shelves were empty because they just weren’t working for me. I wanted to fill them with baskets or bins to corral smaller items, but they would have been expensive to buy all at once. I searched the internet for affordable options but couldn’t find anything that worked. Then I got the idea to cover cardboard boxes in fabric! So I posted on facebook and within a few days had a bunch of empty diaper boxes donated.

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When I put them all up on the shelves to see how they would look, I realized that A) it would look much better if they were all the same shape and size, and B) it was going to take me forever to cover all those boxes in fabric! So I waited. That was two months ago.

Then when I started taking pictures of the house for the updated house tour page, I realized I really, really needed a new picture of that side of the laundry room. It was still painted blue in the old picture, which was confusing if you saw photos of the other side of the room painted white. So I started thinking about the shelves again. I even considered taking them down and replacing them with some large-scale art (maybe using this technique). But when I got back home (that brainstorming session happened on a long-ish car ride to visit my parents) I looked at the shelves again and decided to try different arrangements of boxes to see if I could make it work. I settled on just using two rectangular boxes, but then I had to figure out what to do with them!

I thought about painting them first, but I wasn’t inspired by the idea of a solid color. Then I saw this and thought about covering them with colorful/patterned duct tape.

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My Fave 4 Letter F-word

But when I searched online I didn’t see any duct tape I found appealing. But I DID see this, which was done with washi tape. So I started researching where I could get some washi tape for cheap.

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Elise Blaha

But the washi tape was going to add up to more than I wanted to spend and it didn’t seem like it would be all that durable, so I actually went back to the idea of using paint, but this time I would use painter’s tape to create uniform stripes. I raided my paint collection and pulled together a palette of blue, green, pink, and purple.

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I even mocked up the layout on my computer.

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But when I started painting the blue I decided I wanted to do a colorblock instead, with blue on the base and a pink band around the top. In that case it would be easiest to paint the pink first, then wrap the top with 2″ wide painter’s tape before adding the blue. So I started painting the pink.

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THEN I decided I really liked the loose, wavy stripes with the pink, blue, and white primer showing between them. So I tried adding a white stripe. But it looked too much like this:

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image source

So I painted over the white and that’s how I got to here.

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So if you’re perusing pinterest or reading blogs and feeling bummed because you think you’re just not creative, have hope! Inspiration is not always something that strikes in a moment of eureka. It’s a process that’s sparked from a problem, and having limits like a small budget or whatever materials you already have on hand can really be a catalyst for coming up with something special that works for you.

I hope you all have a lovely long weekend! I’m really, really looking forward to it. I’ll be taking the day off from blogging on Monday to indulge in some family time, but I’ll be back with regularly scheduled programming come Tuesday! Happy Memorial Day!

The last time I remember updating most of the pictures on our House Tour page is over a year and a half ago! That is way too long! So much has changed since then and I was kind of embarrassed to have all those old pictures on display for new visitors checking out my blog. So, since I had the house and yard looking nice for the baby shower I hosted recently, I thought I’d take the opportunity to get some fresh photos of this little place we call home. Behold: the view from the street.

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The front porch. Somebody needs to sweep that floor! It’s not gonna be me. I want to paint the floor gray but I’ll probably never get it clean enough to paint.

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Nick and I can be found sharing a beer out here at least a couple evenings each week. He listens to LSU baseball on the vintage radio and I read a magazine or play around on my phone. There’s a ceiling fan to combat the heat and that sweet olive planted just on the other side of the railing perfumes the whole area in late summer. I’d like to plant a whole row of them eventually to create an open screen between us and the neighbors.

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The front door opens right into the living room. I created an entryway of sorts using an upholstered storage bench and a shelf with hooks.

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The living room opens into the dining room, which I’ve divided into two spaces for eating and sitting. To be honest, we rarely use that seating area and I’d love to someday replace it with an upright piano and a cushy rug for Jack to play on while I work in the kitchen.

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I love the dining area. We have a portable high chair that we strap onto one of the dining chairs for Jack.

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The kitchen is pretty much exactly the same as the day we bought the house. I changed the window treatment and added the stemware rack under the cabinet, but that’s it.

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I’d love to someday replace the tile backsplash with beadboard and install upper cabinets or open shelves on either side of the stove vent.

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If I had a million dollars I’d also look into opening up that pass-through to expand up and to the right, creating a bar that we can pull up stools to on the other side. It’s hard to put into words but I can envision exactly what I want.

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The laundry room is at the way back of the house behind the kitchen. There’s a door just to the right of this photo that leads to the backyard. The washer and dryer are ancient and dying but we’re making them work as long as possible.

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On the other end of the laundry room, I built that skirted counter to hide the cats’ litter box and a bunch of other random crap. It’s really one of my favorite projects. The dog and cat food are in glass canisters on top of the dresser and the trashcans on the right are labeled with chalkboard paint for trash and recycling.

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I didn’t bother with an updated photo of the guest bath as it really hasn’t changed much, but here’s the old one for continuity’s sake. I recently ditched the cork bathmat and am still on the hunt for the perfect replacement.

Jack’s room. The only thing I’ve changed since he was born is adding more art and accessories we received as gifts.

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Our bedroom is upstairs. It’s sort of a loft setup. I think it was added after the house was built, but long enough ago to have the same style windows. It’s a large room and difficult to capture on camera without a wide-angle lens.

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Back downstairs at the very front of the house is the office slash playroom. I’m trying to simplify things by just calling it a den but I can’t get my mouth to say it. I always just call it the office. This room and the laundry room are definitely the ones that have changed the most in recent months. It’s come a looooooong way from this.

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This is where I sit blogging at this very moment. I use those shelves to store office and craft supplies as well as items I have listed for sale in my etsy shop.

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The rug is usually covered in baby toys.

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And last but not least, the backyard. The deck has become a much nicer place to spend time lately thanks to the fresh coat of paint and colorful umbrella I added to the table and chairs.

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We have a vegetable garden, clothesline, two compost bins, and I’m working on putting in an herb garden (the grass is cleared, I just need to rent a tiller to get the rest of the roots and then build a raised bed. I learned from my veggie garden that just laying down some cardboard under the bed will not kill my grass.). That galvanized pail near the deck steps collects rainwater for me to water the garden with. I’d love to get chickens someday, but I’m worried about keeping them out of my veggies and herbs. And also predators. We live in a densely populated area with the standard assortment of stray cats plus a surprising number of possums, raccoons, and even a family of hawks. I’d like the chickens to be able to free range if I can figure out the logistics.

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So there’s our place! Not pictured are the guest bedroom and master bath, which still leave quite a bit to be desired, but if you’re just dying to see what they look like you can check them out in this post and this post. I’ll be working on getting all these new photos up on the house tour page today, so if you click over before I’m finished you can see what’s changed (and what hasn’t!) since the last tour. I fell in love with the house the first time I saw it and it’s so cheesy but I love it a little more every time I do something else to make it more beautiful, functional, and livable. And if you’ve made it to the end of this super long post then I love you too! Thanks for reading!