Infatuation, Irrigation and a DIY Extravaganza

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Pinterest is a VERY dangerous place. It's one of those sites that's like a ginormous black hole in cyberspace. First comes the infatuation, then the gravitation; and once you hit that gravitational pull? Ha. WOOSH! It sucks you right in and the next thing you know it's five hours later. Nothing on your list has gotten done, but hey! you've now discovered 500 new and wondrous things to add to a brand new board full of "schtuff" you totally have to do. In your spare time. Of which you have none. Right then. Idiot. *facepalm* On top of that, you're now horribly late for something you completely forgot about and (to make things more interesting) your derriere has fallen fast asleep in the chair. Sometimes I think I need professional help. Do you do stuff like that? To top it off, Pinterest has now started sending me "ideas I might like". To date, that has generated a short squeal of fear and and immediate deletion of the notification (but it's rapidly becoming a growing challenge not to at least take a peek). Although I've managed to accomplish a handful of things I've seen indoors and out; like the repurposed wheelbarrow (here), and the jazzing up of my light switches (here), there are - literally - hundreds more and me with medium-rare motivation (though I do have my moments ;o)

On the one hand, I have come up with some really neat ideas that were inspired by things I came across on Pinterest. On the other? Well, I have figured out I definitely need to sprout way more hands than two if I want to achieve even a microscopic portion of all the things I've gleefully pinned. One of the pins (site here) I came across that I really, really, liked was using recycled water bottles to create a root watering system for plants. They also introduced me to the "plant nanny" which I'll explain further down. Since we all know Jen can't leave anything alone, I had to put my own creative spin on it. I don't drink bottled water anymore but I do drink juice, so I started saving the big bottles. DH enjoys a glass of wine in the evenings, so I started saving those bottles too. You know, in case I came across something else that they would come in handy for (and is it any wonder my house is terminally cluttered?) Turns out I did find a great use for them. Several, actually. Mmmph.

For the juice bottles, I poked two tiny holes on the plant side at the very bottom and buried them a short distance from the plant. I filled them with water, and went on my merry way.  Checking the water levels every day got annoying in very short order (I couldn't tell where the line was, so I had to open each one to check). Tedious and time-consuming. Grr. Nope, not happening. As much as I hated the neon orange, it was easily solved with some inexpensive fishing bobbers. Now I can see where the water line is from just about anywhere I stand. I also didn't like the yellow caps on the bottles. Since they don't need to be tight, I opted to swap them out for some plain white ones from empty supplement bottles (thankfully, that idea hit just as I was about to throw several empties in the trash). Since we have a more rustic theme in the back, I went with black caps back there. Then I spent some time wondering how I could jazz up the tops a bit more. I didn't like all of that "sameness". I mean, it's not like I could just LEAVE IT ALONE, right? Yeesh. Painting was too much trouble, and any embellishment glued on there would probably just fall off. Then I thought about all those spectacular cabinet knobs at Hobby Lobby. You know, the ones they regularly put on sale for half price? Not only would they add something unique to my gardens, it would make it easier to handle the tops. WOO! Now we're talking!

I had a field day picking up decorative knobs over the past few months - I tried to stick with porcelain and other things I thought would (I hope) survive outside. Here's what they look like:

Although the juice bottle idea worked like a charm in the supersized planters and flowerbeds, I still had a number of smaller planters scattered everywhere. As much as I love my plants, it will be tough to keep up with it all once reality sets back in (back to school) at the end of the month. Enter the nifty little invention I mentioned earlier: the "plant nanny". It's a terra cotta spike that will hold large bottles in an inverted position; since terra cotta is porous, it allows the water to seep slowly into the roots. An automated potted plant watering system? Boo-Yeah. Now we're talking! (See? I knew I should totally save all those wine bottles ;o) If you click on the picture to blow it up, you can just see the top of the spike in the soil. The downside (of course there had to be one) is that they are hideously expensive at around $20 for a box of four. *gulp*  I found one that was a little less; I think it was called the "plant minder" or something like that anyway.

I still had the other half of DD's crib; the first end being ensconced by the front beds (here) and its springs adorning the wall outside the feed room (here). I decided the shape of the crib end might make a neat little backbone piece for a potting area of sorts.  After searching until my eyeballs bled, I opted to "go it alone" and make some kind of a small stand to use on the patio. I painted the crib end a nice rustic red and just stared at it for awhile. Walked around it. I'm pretty sure I burned up quite a few brain cells pondering and percolating, as I eyeballed it from all angles. In order to keep things complicated, I also tried to make use of multiple leftovers from other P-words (projects). There might have been a day or two where I was absolutely certain that DIY actually stood for, "Delusional Is YOU" and nobody ever told me that's what it really meant. Eventually I got it all figured out right down to the small rolled up piece of leftover chicken wire I kept moving around to get it out of the way (you know the thing, it's too small to use for anything, but too big to throw away?). Hobby Lobby put their Spring Shop items on sale at 66% off, and I made a beeline for some fabulous art deco brackets (photo) that I had been drooling over (they wound up being $5.44 each - WHOOP! :o) I also found a decorative piece with multiple hooks for half price to hang my tools and gloves. I chose to hang it improperly, of course, with part of it sticking up above the top of the crib end. It gave it a nice finished look - at least I thought it did.

It was really hard to get a clear picture with the patio all shady and so much light behind it. Even though it was raining, the light was too much and I wound up taking flash pictures which made the color look a little funky. The photo below is a bit better. Overall, I was delighted with the way it turned out, although I may need to go back and paint those bottom pieces...

I bolted it to the post behind it for stability, since it only has two legs. It's pretty unobtrusive, which I like (I'll have a real potting bench in the garage eventually - It's on The List. *eyeroll*). I just needed a small space to store gardening things and somewhere to pot up any cuttings I might have to share with our visitors. The chicken wire (though annoying) added a bit of rustic flair. It also meant that I got rid of something else that was laying around - Hooray!!

Even though I had to add a scrap piece of 2x4 behind it to make it work (the leftover shelf piece was too narrow for the brackets) I decided the raised shelf in the back worked great for smaller garden related items. Things like an old spice jar full of eggshells for new plantings, plant tags to label shared cuttings (held in one of DD's wood practice pieces from college), and a little pot with all the informational thingies from my plants and flowers, among other things.

Next to the potting stand, one of my favorite MSU's (make somethin' up ;o) so far this year has to be the butterfly bath planters. I had two old Christmas tree stands sitting in the garage. I think I spent about two months just looking at them. I knew I could use them "as is" for planters, but I didn't really like it that way. They took up too much room for one thing (too clunky) and, well, I just didn't like it. At some point, I flipped them over and stared a bit more before the AHA moment hit (don't you love those?) I could plant multiple plants in it if I turned it upside down. A handy bonus? The extra large eye bolts used to stabilize the tree in the stand would offer some additional stability in its inverted position. Initially, I thought to put a flowerpot on the center "shelf" creating a tiered look, but then inspiration struck again and I decided to use a flowerpot saucer to make a butterfly and bee bath instead. To paraphrase what's-his-face from the A-Team, "I love it when a plan[ter] comes together". Bwahahaha. *snort* Yeah, I know, I'm corny and my age is showing :oP

I drilled some holes for drainage, got out my trusty spray paint and went to town (again, with the less expensive base coat followed by the outdoor metallic paint). Some sparkly paint and stepping stones for the bees and the butterflies coming right up!

Since bees and butterflies can drown (and garden lifeguards are in short supply), some pretty pieces of hexagonal glass from Hobby Lobby made the perfect stepping stone. My friendly neighborhood feed store (Ace is the place ;o) was nice enough to put some $2 flats of Gaillardia right by the door where I'd trip over them on my feed run and.... Viola! Do you like it?

It will look better, I'm sure, when the flowers "fill in" a little bit more. SO...I'm pretty sure that's more than enough for now. I'm all talked out, and I'll just bet you're tired of reading (or you fudged it and mostly just looked at the pictures ;o) If you're a picture person, feel free to look us up on Instagram (there's a shot of our very first visitor to the butterfly bath on there). Have a wonderful weekend and a beautifully blessed week!


  1. I have a bit of a Pinterest addiction myself. I've pinned way more things than I'll ever be able to do. But I love knowing all those fabulous ideas are right there waiting for me when I need them :)
    I love your projects. The potting bench looks awesome and the idea with the tree stand was ingenious.

    1. Ann: Actually I noticed you've been on a matchbox pinning bender this week (it made me feel a little bit better ;o) Support group, party of two perhaps? HehHehHeh.

      Thank you so much - I really appreciate you saying that!

  2. I don't think I really understand Pinterest yet. Maybe I should look into it. You make it look useful.

    1. Ratty: As a guy, you might be slightly safer from catching the Pinterest bug, but I wouldn't bank on it ;o)

      While there is a ton of helpful stuff on there, it's all too easy to get sidetracked and lose a boatload of time perusing. Fair warning! *laugh*

  3. Wow....I LOVE both ideas of the watering bottles AND the work bench. And you did a fabulous job on the bench.

    1. Anni: Oh, thank you so very much! *blush*

  4. Aha! You caught me at it - just looking at your photos and reading a few lines here and there! I am not the least bit artistic or crafty, but I admire people who are.
    Thanks for your visits and comments on my blog, Lea's Menagerie
    Have a great week!

Your comments really brighten my day!

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