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Summer has been a whirlwind of projects and to-do lists, as many of us tend to do when the weather is nice. It’s no surprise then, that my blog has shifted to the back burner for the past few months.  Whoops!!

For the Fall/Winter/Holiday season, I’m back with a whole new schedule.  To keep myself on track, and make sure that I’m sharing all kinds of great info, I’m implementing a few key days each week.  Even though each day has a ‘theme’, I’ll still be tagging the posts into their usual categories for readers to be able to find their favorite recipes, DIY projects, garden fun, holiday ideas, Charmed By Wine updates and other things by using the “read by topic” feature on the top of the page, or categories off to the side:

Motivation Monday – All kinds of info on new projects, recipes, happenings, and motivation to start the week off right!

Wine Wednesday – Updates on Charmed By Wine items, sales, sneak peeks, wine reviews, fun finds around the internet… something to keep the week going!

Fun Friday – Exactly what it says.  My ‘catch all’ category to share all kinds of other fun things that happen!

So, for today’s Motivation Monday — I’m going to be busy sketching out what my next few posts will be about and getting myself motivated to start organizing and sharing all the exciting things that will be happening this fall.

Stay tuned, and happy Monday!

Thank You…

07.15.14

I got a last minute travel invitation last week from family who had excellent timing to know when we needed a break from our current daily life.  Had a chance to escape this weekend with some nice scenery and a good book (Anne’s House of Dreams — book 5 in the Anne of Green Gables Series).  I made friends with a chipmunk.  I took some time to reconnect with nature, family, and myself.  I took time that was completely “unplugged” from cell service and wi-fi.

I returned home more relaxed (aside from those moments itching my dozen and a half bug bites all over my legs).  I returned home refreshed and with a clearer mind.  I returned home with a renewed love of books and sitting outside to read them.  I returned home eeeever so slightly tan (WOO!), and most importantly, I returned home from sharing a great experience with my husband who (I hope) has had a similar period of relaxation.

So, although life has proven to be turbulent all around us – I’m proud of how we’re staying as grounded as we can, and still respecting/supporting each other in the process. I’m thankful for the family and friends who are helping us along the way. I came across this post a week or so ago, and am feeling that it’s applicable today as mark and I continue to problem-solve our way through our current situation of job hunting and what not…

Thank You Messages for your Everyday Prince Charming

 

And this photo of my weekend reading spot will be closeby for when I need a reminder to chill out, and ‘reset’.  =)

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All summer, I’ve been staring at empty gardening pots.  They’ve been convenient when needing to move and transplant various plants, but aside from that…. they’re so empty and sad looking!  One pot in particular has had me stumped for awhile…It’s a fairly modern looking concrete planter, and for the longest time, I didn’t know what to put in it – until now.

A fairy garden!

So….What is a Fairy Garden?

Fairy gardens (or ‘miniature gardens’, as some like to call them), are small-scale ecosystems designed with both living plants, hardscapes (rocks, stones), water and other accessories designed to give the illusion of a tiny green-covered, colorful world – perfect for a fairy!

Do I Have to Believe in Fairies to Build One?

Nope!  That’s the best part.  There are SO many kinds of miniature gardens.  Some people love the idea of fairies or gnomes living in tiny trees.  Others enjoy a simple ‘reading nook’ or ‘creek-side picnic’ or  ‘tea time’ atmosphere.  Still others lean towards birds and other small creatures as the central focus of their designs.  It’s completely up to you!

Great! Where do I Start?

The first choice you’ll have to make is where to build your garden.  Ideally, it should be in a relatively safe/undisturbed area of your yard or house – especially if you’ll be using lots of trinkets or accessories.  Protect your garden from lawnmowers and other yard-hazards!  Many people choose a safe ‘nook’ area underneath a tree, a small garden bed close to the house, or even an indoor/outdoor container.  Others get creative and build miniature gardens in hanging pots, wheelbarrows or red wagons!

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What else do I need to know?

Once you have identified a location for your garden, start with a sketch or take a stick and etch in the dirt a general layout of plants, pathways, furniture, or whatever else you want to include.  Once you have that decided — purchase and install your plants.  Depending on your chosen location, small groundcover, short, tiny flowers and small shrub-like (think bonzai) plantings are great.  Play around with the accessories and find your inner child.  These gardens are meant for playtime! =)

 

Now that you have a general idea of fairy gardens, let’s explore the one I put together in a small concrete planter!

My location:

This is the planter.  I took a photo of it with my hand in front so that I could more easily determine scale when purchasing plants.  I knew that something roughly the size of my hand would fill just over half the planter.  (Excuse my poor iphone ‘sunny day’ photo skills. I was in a rush and too excited to go flower shopping!)

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The Research/Design Phase:

I looked at a TON of examples and photos prior to heading out shopping.  I wanted to answer 2 key questions:

  1. What do I want the overall look to be?  Bridge over river to bench?  Tiny gnome garden?  Fairy reading spot? House? Something else?

  2. What plants should I buy to fit the ‘elements’ of trees, bushes, flowers, pathways, etc that will keep some sort of continuity with the small scale idea.

To be honest, a simple google image search for “fairy garden” is probably the best bet.  There are literally thousands of ideas in all shapes and sizes. I took note of what there was in common with my favorite designs.  Simple accessories (nothing too fabricated or fake looking), groundcover (I LOVE the ones with covered moss and what not!), small pops of color, and lots of variation in texture.

Expert Challenge:  DIY accessories!  In case you’re feeling extra adventurous: http://www.pinterest.com/clk2244/fairy-gardens-~-diy-pieces/

The Shopping Phase!

I stopped by 2 garden shops/nurseries, and one craft store.  I found all the elements I wanted:  small groundcover, short flowers with tiny blooms, succulents (to add texture), a small chair, items for a pathway, and accessories.

I didn’t really know what direction the accessories were going to take.  I looked around for dollhouse furniture, fairy garden accessories (one of the garden shops I was at had a whole section of that stuff! Most of it was just a tad bit too big for my planter though.), scrapbook materials, etc.  I found a wire trellis and gardening tools that matched the scale of the chair pretty well – so I went with those.  I decided to create a pathway out of small black rocks and mosaic tiles. Towards the end of my shopping trip I found a small white fence that was too adorable to pass up.  Taking inventory of my loot, I realized that I was building a sort of reading/gardening nook — how cute!

The Installation

I came home from the stores, and sat down with everything I had purchased.  To be honest, I was a bit nervous!  I had no real plan in place other than a general idea of what I thought I liked.  I wasn’t sure if it would fit, or look good at all.  I put on some music, sat on the front porch, and got to work.  I quickly found out that gardening gloves were NOT going to work with all the tiny pieces… so this is definitely a ‘get your hands dirty’ kind of job.  I cleaned out the top layer of moss and debris in the planter (I kept a couple tiny pieces of moss to re-plant in the garden).  From there, I turned and re-filled the pot with better soil.  Then, I started with the larger pieces – the yellow and purple flowers.  The best thing to do is to remove the flowers from their travel containers, and separate as much dirt as you can without destroying the roots too badly.  Seeing as things are supposed to be tiny, large clumps of plants aren’t really conducive to a fairy garden.  I tried my best to separate the yellow flowers.  The purple flowers were easier, and I set aside a small sprig to use later.

After the 2 main pieces went in, I manipulated the dirt in the pot to create the landscape.  I placed the chair in for reference, and then planted the succulents – again, breaking apart the clumps as I went.  Groundcover went in next, and I cut a small hole in the middle of it for the sprig of purple flowers and wire trellis.  With all the main elements in place, I pressed down the soil, made my final adjustments, and started on the pathway.  This is probably the worst element of my design.  The mosaic tiles are small, and probably won’t stay very well.  In hindsight (and I might still do this), gluing them to a tiny cardboard piece or other stable surface might prove to be a better option.  I can then semi-bury the surface so only the tiles show.

After the pathway, I stuck in the fence, garden tools and called it a day!

 

Even my husband said the final result is sort of adorable…
Not bad for a day’s work!
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