ORC – Spring 2021- Cedar Vegetable Planter – Week #2

Are you loving gardening especially during pandemic times? Learning to grow some of our own food has been a huge learning experience for our kids and me. I also want the vegetable area to look good too.

Design – Bueno, Bonito y Barato

Projects I share on this blog follow the principles of this saying in Spanish that my husband uses – Bueno (good), Bonito (pretty) Barato (inexpensive). I think that with creativity it is possible to find this balance.

I have been experimenting over the past few years with adding more edibles to our garden.

Rather than have a bunch of mismatched pots I’ve built simple cedar boxes. I find it’s less watering because they don’t dry out as quickly, there’s more space for roots to grow and the look is more streamlined.

Cedar Planters Stained Black – ORC 2017

Instructions on how to build these cedar boxes from our last home can be found in a One Room Challenge from 2017.

How to Build a Cedar Planter & Privacy Screen
Before – Mismatched Pots
How to Build a Cedar Planter

What I like about building cedar planters is that you can customize the size to fit your needs and choose a paint or stain to suit your style.

Kelowna Vegetable Garden 2021

We were fortunate to have raised beds already set up in our current home. Last year for One Room Challenge I painted them white and built a few extra cedar planters as supports for deer fencing.

Deer Fencing & Cedar 2″x4″ Planters

This year I am maximizing all available space in our vegetable garden by adding a couple more planters in the empty areas.

Unused space beside fence – perfect for another planter!

I used 4 untreated cedar fence boards to create each of these planters. I cut them with my hand saw and used white paint on the outside.

Planter in progress, trellises to come next.

In the background you can see there is still some available space where I will build another planter later. I also plan to make trellises along the fence here to maximize vertical growing space.

Books with Inspiration & Practical Ideas

Edible Landscaping by Senga Lindsay and Edible Spots & Pots by Stacey Hirvela

Last year I shared these books that helped me with design ideas and learning about growing vegetables. There are many other gardening books that gets lots of hype online but I haven’t found any of them as useful as these too – both of which can be found at the library.

I highly recommend Edible Landscaping by Senga Lindsay for ideas of how to set up different styles of vegetable gardens and making them look good.

Edible Spots & Pots by Stacey Hirvela is a wonderful resource to learn about growing vegetables, herbs & edible flowers. There are lots of ways to use containers in smaller spaces to grow food and she explains how.

Salad, Fresh from the Garden

For the past week we have been able to eat salad from the garden everyday. I’m learning about which seeds to start when and it’s working! In March I put cool season seeds for spinach, pea and various lettuces out and they are all taking off now.

Last year we had 4 months of eating from the garden and this year I’m trying for 5 months. I’m a beginner and sharing what I’m learning along the way.

Spinach, Romaine & Leaf Lettuce
Kale from last year that Overwintered.

Garnishing food with edible flowers & herbs is something I love doing in the summer & spring.

To see what everyone else is doing this week in the One Room Challenge follow the link below.

https://www.oneroomchallenge.com/blog/orcspring2021wk2

ORC – Spring 2021 -Exterior Updates Week #1

It’s time for the Spring One Room Challenge, my favourite way to get motivated to work on a project. This year I’m going to continue with the exterior projects from last year.

  • Complete Exterior Trim & Garage Painting
  • Maximize Planting Space in Vegetable Garden
  • Create Seating Area at Front of House

The vegetable garden from last year gave us fresh greens for 4 solid months and I’m hoping to expand what we grow this year. Also, since we have to stay home I am focusing on creating more spaces to enjoy outside.

Exterior Trim & Garage Painting

This is our home in Kelowna. When we moved here almost 2 years ago I started to paint the yellow trim white. The fact that this wood trim needed maintenance in some areas already helped get my husband on board with this update.

If your home is in need of some paint touch ups anyway, why not change the colour?

Inspiration

I absolutely love this garage area by House of Jade Interiors. Eventually I’d love to add a pergola but for this year I’ll be sticking to paint and adding some garage handles.

House of Jade Interiors: https://www.instagram.com/p/B_keYAqlpqj/
Painting in Progress

Vegetable Garden & Deer Fencing

This was how the vegetable garden looked last spring, before the One Room Challenge project.

The vegetable garden last year.
Deer Fence from ORC Spring 2020

I am happy to report that the deer fencing I created stood up through the winter. During a windstorm our side gate and some other fence fell down but surprisingly this was totally fine.

The Garden this Year

Vegetable Garden May 2021

Having a designated area for growing food and being able to start the season earlier has been rewarding. There is so much to learn about seeds, soil, plants, composting etc.

This year I plan to maximize all of the space available here by adding more planters and trellises plus learn more about vegetable growing.

This is the pear tree that I planted last year – seeing it come back after winter and bloom makes me happy! Where we live there are orchards and vineyards everywhere and I want to try fruit trees in our yard too.

Seating Area at Front of House

One more project area is here by the front door. It is a shady spot that we don’t use because there is no furniture. Usually this is where piles of special sticks and pinecones the kids and I find get left.

Spring Last Year

I see that this could be a nice shady spot in the hot afternoon, perfect for reading. I plan to add seating and a coffee table here so that we use this area more often.

That’s the plan for the One Room Challenge this spring. To see what everyone else is doing the link is below. I suspect more people will be focusing on the outside this year.

https://www.oneroomchallenge.com/blog/orcspring2021wk1

Simple Floral Arrangements for Easter

With Easter and other celebrations going on this time of year I thought I’d share a couple of simple ways that I decorate. There are beautiful signs of spring emerging and all it takes is a couple of branches or seasonal flowers to dress up the table.

Home: Shibang Designs Photo: Heidi Lau Photography

1. Forage from the Yard & Display in Glass Jars

This is what we have in our yard right now – Hellebores, branches from our maple tree & these blossoms.

For a low effort & high impact display I use recycled jars to showcase each flower or branch. They can be spread out along the table or clustered together.

Spring Flowers & Branches from the Yard in Recycled Hot Sauce Bottles

This is from a couple of years ago in our last home, highlighting daffodils, hyacinths, serviceberry & maple branches.

2. Use a Potted Hydrangea to Clip a few Blossoms

If you don’t have a yard to clip branches and flowers from (or if you love hydrangeas), I like to cut a few blossoms from a potted plant. I only take 3 which is barely noticeable from a plant this size.

Make sure to treat the flowers to prevent them from wilting by sicking about 1 cm of the bottom of the stem in boiling water for a few seconds.

Flowers: Shibang Designs Photo: Heidi Lau Photography

Add a couple of branches found on the ground during a walk and there’s a bonus way to spread flowers around the house. Or buy a bunch of tulips and add a few found sticks to make the arrangement more interesting.

Home: Shibang Designs Photo: Heidi Lau Photography

Even though celebrations are still small this year, a couple of little details like fresh branches or flowers can make the occasion feel more special without a lot of extra effort.

Holiday Decorating & Wreaths – 2020

Here’s a look at some of the decorating I did for our home this year as well as the wreaths I made. Pine from the yard was the main green used, I had been waiting for months to do some strategic tree trimming.

I started with pine that I cut from a bush out front. I kept the trees simple and saved decorating them until December.

I like to use greens from the yard (in our former home that was Blue Spruce) and then add one special element, in this case Eucalyptus.

From early November until mid December it is wreath making time! I love making them and sell them locally during this time.

This was boxwood clipped from our yard that became a wreath for above the kitchen window as it is long lasting and doesn’t drop needles.

This was the annual giant wreath that I make to hang behind the kitchen table and bring in that Christmas scent. It’s hard to tell here but the wreath is 3 feet wide and very heavy. It is made with spruce so it has a short indoor shelf life.

At the front area of the house is this corner where I keep extra material and wreaths before they are picked up.

Once it was December I added some baubles to the trees and a bow to the front door wreath just before Christmas. I like to extend the season and gradually decorate.

These Baby Blue Eucalyptus wreaths are one of my favourites because they smell incredible and are long lasting.

This year I was able to cut 5 branches long enough to be mini Christmas trees.

This was the other big (by our standards) Christmas tree.

Here’s another reminder of the transformative power of paint. More on this kitchen makeover from last year can be found here.

Holiday Home – Blue Spruce Wreaths & Garland

Making wreaths & decorating for the holidays using greenery from the yard has become a major passion of mine in recent years. I like to try something different each year using what I have available outside or foraged and then I usually add one element that is bought – like Eucalyptus.

Here is a look at our Newmarket home decked out for the holidays in 2018 using Blue Spruce from our yard as the base.

This beautiful, mature Blue Spruce supplied greenery every year that I filled the house with – I can’t believe in our first year living here that I was buying boughs of pine when I had this readily available.

I save all pruning until November and December now so that I will have plenty of material for decorating. In the case of this tree, I actually found that it grew more small boughs thanks to all of the small cutting done each winter.

I also made a 15 foot garland using the Blue Spruce by wrapping it around our Christmas lights making it an easier job to create. This went over the garage door.

The base of the wreath is made on a wire frame and then I added some dried silver dollar Eucalyptus I’d saved from something else I’d made in the summer. The pinecones I collected with my kids when out on walks.

The picture frame moulding made the perfect display area to hang a sash that I sewed from some silk look material I had. Since we choose not to have a large Christmas tree I think I tend to over compensate with fresh wreaths and garlands!

A detail of this table trestle leg – have you seen what it looked like before in this Apartment Therapy feature? It was a big project to refinish the table but so worth it.

Here’s a glimpse at the front of the house with the garland. There is a post showing how this garage door looked before it was painted here.

There is a tutorial on making a fresh wreath like this one here. Also instructions on this shiplap wall can be found here.

How to Make a Fresh Holiday Wreath

This weekend I’m planning to start some of my holiday wreath making using the pine and boxwood that we have in our current yard. I started some clipping last weekend with this simple branch. The wreaths here were made with driftwood I collected in the summer and this fireplace got a paint update last year.

If you follow me on Instagram I have created a hashtag #shibangwreaths to catalogue some of my wreath projects over the years. There’s a lot that doesn’t make it to my blog but it is on my Instagram @shibangdesigns.

Happy decorating & foraging!

ORC – Weeks 4 & 5 – Pillow Fabrics & Paint Choices

An update on the slow going basement project for One Room Challenge. Having furniture (who knew?!) has made a huge difference and now we use this space all the time. I finally started painting because I want it to be brighter down here but still cozy.

I am using mystery paint from Restore. Usually I’m picky about my colours but in this case these shades of what seem to be warm and light grey/beige should work. I’m not done yet but it is already feeling brighter in these back corners.

The colour is a smoother transition to the downstairs bathroom.

This wall will be a slightly darker greige and I’ve mapped out the picture frame moulding here that I will install eventually. I decided to do moulding that would be manageable with my limited tools – hello handsaw, plastic mitre box and tiny hammer. Below is our last home where I installed this Metrie moulding behind our banquette.

Picture frame moulding I installed in our last home.

This mirror is now finally hung up to maximize the light coming in from the window. It is one of the few decor pieces I brought in the move.

Pillow: Shibang Designs – www.shibangdesigns.com

There will be lots of pillows on the large sectional so I will be using my own pillows and will add some other basics to go with them.

This lamp was from Restore and was exactly what I had in mind.

This is a sketch of how I planned to make the cabinets into a unit and add moulding, it’s slowly starting to come together. The plywood was cut at Home Depot and still needs some more finishing details.

To see what everyone else is working on here is the link below:

https://www.oneroomchallenge.com/blog/orcguestss20wk1-khx3f-955p7-bj33w-24pb8-kfs9p

ORC – Weeks 2 & 3 – Quick Update for Oak

The One Room Challenge has been slow going lately and I’m totally fine with that. I’m looking for the easiest way to make some updates with secondhand items.

This media console we bought used with our kitchen table and I believe they’re originally from Pottery Barn.

While refinishing a dining table is worthwhile I just don’t have the energy or interest in making a big mess right now. For the media console I did a technique I’ve used on oak mirrors to emphasize the grain.

Over the years I’ve used name brand Chalk Paint and it’s been good but I now make my own using Plaster of Paris mixed with common housepaint and water. That’s what I have used for this project. It works the same in this application and is a fraction of the cost.

The key is to use a stiff (aka ruined ) brush and push the paint into the grain. Then you wipe away the paint almost immediately.

These are other mirrors I’ve done in this style.

We had a lot of snow fall on Friday and we’ve been so cozy indoors that I didn’t get too far into the basement makeover. It’s comfortable with a couch now and we have so many library books to read.

I have planned the moulding now which will be something manageable to complete with my handsaw and mitre box.

I also found the perfect coffee table a couple of weeks back. I had been looking into how to make a trunk but came across this one at Restore that was in excellent condition and the perfect size – it also locks so that helps keep little brother out of the Lego while the older one is at school.

Here is the link to the One Room Challenge and everyone else’s progress:

One Room Challenge – Fall 2020- Week#1

Time for the Fall One Room Challenge – The best motivation to finish up projects!
Welcome to our basement. When we moved here over one year ago the only furniture we brought were our beds, couch and coffee table. This room has stayed basically unfurnished for the past year so now is the time to make it cozy to stay home this winter!
I prefer to use secondhand furniture as much as possible – for the environment, the quality is often better as is the price. This console we bought with our kitchen table, the TV used to be my Nana’s and the lamp is from the last house.
Last year I added curtains to the window. I bought new sheets and sewed them into curtains.
These cabinets I bought at Restore with plans to paint them and make them into a storage bench similar to our last home.
Here is the room (and the kids 😉 ) in a space overrun with toys. Despite the full size windows, it is dark so I will be painting the walls lighter and adding mirrors.
For months I have been looking for a secondhand sectional couch – finally I found one!


We bought our leather living room couch used in Montreal 8 years ago and it has withstood the use and abuse from kids and pets and still looks good. I had hoped to find something used again rather than buying new but was having trouble finding one. I started to look for a new one and asking my Aunt and friends when I saw this one used online. We hired a local person – Your Friend with a Truck – to bring it to us.
Here is step one of the Fall One Room Challenge to make the room cozier – what a difference furniture makes!
Photo: Heidi Lau Photography

In our last home adding moulding throughout the house was a priority to add character. I haven’t done any yet in our current home but I brought this mirror from our last dining room which I plan to finally put up.

photo: Heidi Lau Photography

This was our last basement where I added this board and batten. I have some ideas for the wall treatment in our current home to give the space more character…they are quite finalized yet.

Here’s some of the materials I’ve been slowly collecting over the past year – paint mis-tints, some leftover Advance paint from the island cabinets and door architraves. I am also excited to sew some new cushion covers for the sectional couch.

To see what else everyone has planned check out the One Room Challenge page linked below:

Wheat Wreath DIY

Here’s another wreath to add to the tutorials on the blog – this time for a wheat type wreath. I used grasses from our yard. Last year I was considering making a wreath from these grasses that end up in the yard waste bin but thought it would be too tedious a project.

It’s not actually tedious but you do need quite a bit of material to make. Here is a look at how I made this wheat wreath following the same method at the other wreath tutorials using Eucalyptus, Boxwood, and Blue Spruce.

Materials:

  • Wreath Form 
  • Paddle Wire
  • Lots of material

Collect your materials. The grasses are messy so give them a good shake before bringing them inside the house to work. Better yet, make it outside!

Here is the finished product – simple & made from materials in the yard. I like the colour combination against the grey door. Here it is against black too.

This wreath could be kept until next year or pull out the grasses, put them in the yard waste bin and make a new one next year when the grasses have grown back again.

2021 Update

I now sell wheat style wreaths through my website and Etsy shop . They are available for shipping within Canada. On my Instagram under highlights are more examples.

 

More fresh wreath tutorials can be found below:

Fresh Eucalyptus Wreath DIY

Boxwood Wreath DIY

4 Simple & Natural Ways to Decorate for Fall

It’s September already and that means a new season and I have some Fall decorating ideas to share. The colours outside are shifting and there are so many simple and natural ways to bring this look inside.

1. Make a Flower Arrangement

While we don’t have flowers in bloom right now (I miss the Limelight Hydrangea hedge I planted at our last house!) we do have an amazing selection of foliage around the yard.

I clipped some ninebark, japanese maple, dogwood, poppy pods, aster and crabapple from our yard to make an arrangement.

I also added some grasses which was a trend I was not a fan of until we moved to Kelowna, where dried grass is a part of the landscape. For this arrangement I used chicken wire inside the lined box which made it so much easier to build the design.

Whenever we go to the beach I’m always looking for treasures, just like my kids. These are driftwood wreaths that I made by shaping branches I found. The grasses are from a row of Karl Forester grasses we have in the yard. This has been up all summer and I’ll probably keep it up during fall until inspiration strikes.

A couple of weeks ago this was another arrangement made with the same materials from the yard but on a larger scale.

In the background below is a new Eucalyptus wreath with a ribbon made with linen scraps from the mask making I’ve been doing.

2. Cut a few Branches to Fill a Vase

If you don’t feel like spending much time arranging flowers, cut branches from the yard are a quick and easy way to freshen up a room without spending any money.

This is some Ninebark that is in my studio. The dark, almost black foliage is a new favourite of mine and it lasts for at least 2 weeks in a vase.

In my studio I have been focused on making linen masks. I started using linen since that is what I use for screenprinting tea towels. Linen also makes a more breathable mask so now I am choosing more fabrics & creating colour collections to work with a fall wardrobe.

This is what I am making (more photos are on Etsy). Flower arranging is a creative outlet that is my break from sewing.

3. Make a Wreath to Welcome the Season

Wreath making is one of the most popular topics on the blog and I love making them so there will be more to come soon. If you have a metal wreath form and paddle wire it is so easy to grab it and start wrapping fresh material. I always save my wire when I remove old leaves and keep the wire in a bundle attached to the form.

A few months ago I was out after a big windstorm and there were willow branches that had fallen all over the beach. I collected the fallen branches – never cut from a tree unless it’s on your property or you ask for permission – and made a wreath from them. Even though I knew this would be temporary I enjoyed the process and saw it as extra practice and even therapeutic!

4. Gather Interesting Sticks & Pinecones to Display

Driftwood, pinecones & interesting branches find their way to our doorstep for display. These plants are Swedish Ivy that I chose since the fuzzy leaves would hopefully be unappealing for the deer and also to clip for arrangements indoors.

Bringing the season indoors is easy with a few natural elements that can be found all around.

As we learned in Design 101 in my Fine Arts Education, in nature all colours go together. I’m paraphrasing but the idea is that naturally colour coordinates and it is evident as you look around at the changing season.

More projects that I’m currently working on are often shared on my Instagram @shibangdesigns if you’re not already following. I share projects & ideas there more often than I blog!