Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Savannah, Georgia: Mini Guide

Savannah has become one of my favorite places to visit. It has a little bit of everything, from the old historical charm of the South to the beach on Tybee Island. It’s equal parts relaxation and adventure, and small enough that it’s easy to get around and not too crowded. 

I’ve been lucky enough to visit with my good friend Em as a tour guide, and will be going back again in a few weeks to celebrate her bachelorette party. Em went to school at Savannah College of Art & Design (SCAD), so she spent 4 years getting to know the area really well! 


Top 6+ Favorite Savannah/Tybee Things:

BROUGHTON STREET
Several blocks long, this street is full of shopping and food. Some of my favorites are:

-You can taste all the different flavors of their honey!

-One of the best shops ever, it has an eclectic mix of new and old items.

-The best ice cream in Savannah. The line can get pretty long, but if you go during off hours you can avoid longer waits.


SCAD
This art school has played a big part in the revitalization of the city. They have fixed up lots of old buildings as part of their campus.
-ShopSCAD carries a wide variety of items made by SCAD alumni and students. 

-Kind of a dive, but it’s so good (well, I always get the same thing and it’s delicious, The Elvis: peanut butter and banana french toast). It was also in the book/movie Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.

We stayed on Tybee the first couple of years we visited. Last year I stayed at Planter’s Inn. It’s in a great location, and was affordably priced the weekend we were there. Next door is The Old Pink House, a nice restaurant, though a little pricey. Each room has a different ambiance to it. They also have an outdoor patio upstairs that’s nice at night. The lowest level has a little bar lit mostly with lanterns/candles, with live music and special cocktails – it’s really neat! You’ll want to make reservations, especially if there’s a specific area you want to dine/drink.


-The largest park in the city full of large oak trees with Spanish moss. We always bring a blanket and take a nap in the park:)

TYBEE ISLAND
A short drive from Savannah, Tybee has a small town feel, and is a great place to visit the ocean.

North & South Beach
-North beach is generally less busy, and just as nice. The lighthouse is also on north beach. South beach has all the little shops and a nice beach as well. There are jellyfish in the water, and usually some dead ones on the beach – just something to look out for.



-It’s fun to climb the lighthouse, and get a 360 degree view at the top. You can see the ocean and marshes from up high, which is nice. The also have a museum in the house the lighthouse keeper’s family lived in, has lots of neat old stuff and some nice quilts.


Some other fun things: Cute fabric boutique shops: Fabrika & Measure; Juliette Gordon Low House (founder of the Girl Scouts); ride a Vespa.


Want a little taste of Savannah/Tybee, but can’t get there soon enough? Watch these films: Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, Forrest Gump, The Last Song.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

SYTYCD!!

My most favorite thing about this time of year is the start of a new season of So You Think You Can Dance. I LOVE to dance. I'm not really any good, but I love to do it anyway. I took dance growing up, and it was so much fun, especially at recital season when you got to dress up and perform. Now, I take classes at City in Motion, and also take Zumba as well. It's really the only way I can get myself to exercise because I have so much fun doing it.

In honor of the new season starting tonight (in just a few short minutes!!) I have pulled together some of my favorite dances from over the years of SYTYCD. I know there is a small group of people who actually watch this show, but it is truly amazing. I am always in awe of the talent of the dancers and choreographers, and watching the show is one of the best ways to hear great music. This year I will be using my Shazam app to find all of the music, and I'll hopefully put some playlists together of the music too!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Urban Gardening: DIY Sub-Irrigation Planter

Last year we tried a DIY Sub Irrigation Planter (SIP) for the first time. A SIP is a planter system where water is introduced from the bottom of the planter. This allows plants to have a constant source of water, and also saves you, the gardener, from having to water as often. We have an upper deck that gets pretty good light and were interested in a having a few container plants. We had tried cherry tomatoes in the past, but had issues with them splitting in the heat. Especially in the middle of the summer, we’d water the plant in the morning, and by the time we got home from work the soil was completely dried out. This also made it hard to leave for more than a few days, and we didn’t want to be reliant on friends coming by to water for us.

We got a book from Jesse’s brother called Fresh Food From Small Spaces, and this is where we first learned about SIP container gardening. We were intrigued, and Jesse did lots more internet research (he loves to research things) to learn more about how we could apply this ourselves (this is a pretty good site to learn more). You can purchase SIP containers read to go, but I wanted something that was a little more aesthetically pleasing than what is out in the market, and we already had two tall planters my mom had gifted to us (and I really like overcomplicating things). We tried this for the first time last year, and it worked out pretty well. We had more success with the cherry tomatoes than the bell peppers, but that could be for a variety of reasons.

Our planters worked out great to convert to a SIP. The extra height allows enough room in the base for the water reservoir. Dimensions will vary depending on the planter you use, but as a reference, here is what we were working with. Tulip planter (widens at the top): 20”tall, 14” diameter at the top, 9.5” diameter at the base. 2 gallon bucket: 9” tall, 9”diameter.


SUPPLIES 
Planter, bucket/container for the water reservoir, PVC pipe for the fill tube, plastic water bottle for the soil wick, plywood/wood/bucket lid for the platform, landscaping cloth (not mandatory), and a mason jar to fit over the fill tube opening.

1. Find an appropriate planter (my mom purchased ours from Piney Ridge in Johnston, Iowa).
2. Find a bucket/container (the water reservoir) that fits snugly into the bottom of the planter. It still needs to have a little extra space on the sides, so when the reservoir becomes full*, the extra w­ater will spill over the edges, and out the bottom of the planter. Our bucket is made of HDPE (high-density polyethylene) food grade plastic.
*If you can/want to drill holes into your planter, you can drill drainage holes near the top of the water reservoir, and this will allow the extra water to flow out through the openings.
3. The platform piece should fit on top of the bucket/container. We used untreated plywood*. The platform is the same diameter as the bucket. You will need to cut two holes, one the diameter of the water bottle you will use for the wick (placed in the middle), and a smaller hole that is the diameter of the fill tube (off to the side).
*We may try finding a bucket with a lid next year, and using the lid as the platform. This may be more efficient than what we currently have.
4. We purchased a large bottled water to use for the wick (the extra large size). Jesse cut the top off, and drilled several holes into the plastic. It wasn’t quite tall enough to touch the bottom (it should be slightly taller than the bucket), so he added a few pieces of leftover plywood to the bottom. Gradually fill plastic bottle with soil, watering the soil and compacting down the soil as you add more so it is very dense. 
5. Place wick in center hole, make sure top is flush with the platform.
6. Cut the bottom of the PVC pipe (fill tube) at an angle to ensure the water can flow into the bucket. Add fill tube through smaller hole in platform. 
7. Add landscaping fabric*. You won’t need much landscaping fabric, so we asked some friends who were homeowners, and one had lots of extra that he was happy to pass onto us. You can adjust the fabric as you add the soil. If you can, try to keep the fabric above the soil line.
*Not mandatory, but can prevent roots from getting into the water reservoir. We used landscaping fabric last year, and the bell pepper roots still made it around the landscaping fabric and started down the side of the fill tube. I don’t think this affected the peppers at all though.
8. Fill with soil.
9. Place plant into dirt. Place a cover over the fill tube when not in use. A mason jar works well. This does a couple things; it keeps mosquitoes from going into the tube and laying their eggs in the water, and also keeps other stuff from clogging up the tube.



Depending on how much rain you have, and how hot it is will effect how often you need to water. If the dirt is dry, I like to start by watering from the top, so the plant and top soil are wet. Than we fill up the reservoir by pouring water into the fill tube. We continue to fill it with water until we see water pool up in the tray on the bottom. Since we have a 2 gallon container, we also know roughly how much will fill it up (this also allows us to see how much water was soaked up within a period of time). A gallon milk jug works well for this part, since it also lets you measure and track how much you have put in.­­

We’ve figured out a water management system, but now need a pest control system. We made it about half way through last season before the squirrels found our tomatoes (they left the pepper and other plants alone). They have already found the plant this year, and started to eat the leaves of the tomato plant! It really pisses me off, and we are working on a system to keep them out of it. We are trying bird netting, but haven’t quite figured out the logistics yet. If you have any suggestions, let me know!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Cinco de Mayo badges

Cinco de Mayo is almost here! Help celebrate the holiday with these St. Patrick’s Day inspired phrases. I made these badges several years ago, and even unsuccessfully tried to sell them on Etsy. It’s really a lot more fun to give things away for free:)


Download the template below, print and cut out, and adhere onto clothing with double-sided tape. There are enough badges on one sheet for you, your friends, family and co-workers, so spread the love!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Succulents and JELL-O

Last week a friend had a mini Easter swap. Each person brought something they made for the other people participating in the swap. I thought of a great idea the month before, and than ran out of time. So, this was the backup plan. It was fairly easy to put together, and didn’t take too much time.


My mom works at a greenhouse part-time in the Spring, so she was able to pick up some succulents for me. I told her to get a variety, and didn’t realize she would be able to get 10 completely different styles – there are so many varieties of succulents out in the world! I knew I wanted something reclaimed to use as the pot, and I also wanted it to be cheap. I found a set of these adorable vintage JELL-O molds that were under $1 a piece – perfect! (I have an aunt who makes fancy JELL-O for holidays, so it reminded me a bit of Easter too!)


I used a dremel tool to drill tiny holes in the bottom, and spray painted them gold. I tried a couple other colors including a pink one that looked like strawberry jello (!) but the gold spray paint coated the easiest, dried the fastest, and is a neutral enough color that people could place it in their home. I bought some cacti potting soil, and replanted them in their fancy new/old pots.



I have to admit, I fell in love with the mini JELL-O molds, and felt guilty about drilling into them and painting them. I think I will now keep my eye out for more next time I’m at an antique shop!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Movie Foodie: 13 Going on 30

I had the first Movie Foodie of the year a few weekends ago. 13 Going on 30 seemed like an appropriate film for my 30th year. 13 Going on 30 is such a cute movie, Jennifer Garner is adorable in it and Mark Ruffalo plays the perfect guy you love to love.


I chose Razzles as the key food item, and wrapped them up as favors (along with some "wishing dust" sprinkled inside) for the guests. Other food items included a veggie tray and “pigs in a blanket” from the birthday party scene, and strawberry chocolate chip pancakes from Jenna’s visit to see her parents. Piña coladas were the drink (my first time making real ones, they are easy too! I couldn't find the cream of coconut at the grocery store, but found it at a liquor store) and guests could keep them “virgin”, or make them “not virgin”.


For décor, I bought some silver fringe and used the laser machine at work to cut out the quote “30, flirty & thriving”. Also, I made it pajama party themed, a perfect excuse to wear pjs while watching a movie!


There are a few ways I choose what movies are best for Movie Foodie night. First, it’s a girl’s night, so I don’t have to worry about pleasing the dudes. Romantic comedies are totally acceptable. Secondly, the movie can’t be too serious – which means nothing that will make me, or others cry. The ending of Big Fish makes me cry every time (I only watch this one by myself, I prefer to cry alone so I can really enjoy it). As much as I love Big Fish, it won’t be Movie Foodie night. Third (which should probably be the first) - does food play a role in the movie? I wouldn’t call any of the movies I have shown, “foodie” movies, but either the food is a part of the plot, or becomes a prop between characters. But, some movies are just fun to throw a party for. My next Movie Foodie in October is Beetlejuice. I have no idea what the menu will be, but I’m so excited to decorate for it!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

May Day baskets

I love May Day. As a kid we would put May Day baskets at our friend’s doors in secret – they usually involved strawberry baskets and popcorn. I can’t remember why you weren’t supposed to get caught delivering the baskets, but it was a lot of fun.


I made six of these baskets 2 years ago, and they are still one of my favorite craft projects. I like to think of May Day as a celebration of spring and Earth Day, so I tried to keep everything recycled or usable. Flowers are an important component of the holiday, and in this case I used Celosia, because it is a bright and happy plant. The “pots” were parfait glasses I found at an antique shop (they were really cheap too, about a $1 a piece!). The plant picks where made by rolling out Sculpey (the kind you bake) and stamping letters in it using my William Sonoma, Message in a Cookie kit. The baskets where made from cereal boxes (really simple with a bottom and 4 sides, and held together with washi tape). The handles double as headbands. They are strips of fabric braided together, and sewn onto elastic. 


I still think May Day baskets should be delivered in secret. I got in extra early to work to deliver them to each person’s desks – it was so exciting! I felt like Santa delivering presents:)