Straw”babies”.

The weather has been absolutely wonderful lately. I have a hard time on the weekends actually focusing to get all my projects for school and homework accomplished. Today, was another beautiful day I couldn’t let pass me by. I have many projects on my to-do list this spring and I finally got this one accomplished. Not only is this one good for the environment, but I hope they turn out to be delicious as well. As you can see I had some faithful helpers that stayed with me through this whole project today, couldn’t have done it without them. This actually turned out to be a very simple project once we got all the pieces and a little help a long the way (thank you Megan & Brad, & my mom!). I am very excited for this project and hope that it turns out great as well. I have decided to call them my straw”babies” even though they are my strawberry plants! I will keep you updated on how they are doing! Enjoy!

  1. Gather Supplies. 

Supplies Needed:

-An old drawer

-Plastic

-Drill

-Dirt

-Top soil

-Strawberry plants

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2. Drill holes in the bottom of the drawer. 

We drilled about 8-9 holes in the bottom of the drawer to allow the water to drain out. Our holes were a little bit smaller than a quarter. Adjust the amount and size of the holes depending on the size of your drawer.

3. Cover inside of drawer with plastic. 

To avoid rotting, we lined the inside of the drawer with plastic. This will also make it easier to clean out whenever we need to replace the dirt or the plants. Make sure you poke holes inside the plastic as well to allow the water to drain out.

4. Pour in farm dirt. 

Our drawer was pretty deep so instead of using a whole bag of top soil to fill the drawer we used some farm dirt that we found laying around the house to fill the drawer 3/4 the way full.

5. Pour in top soil. 

For the last 1/4 of the drawer we added top soil to the top layer. This is the soil we bought at our local gardening center Ogle’s Greenhouse. This is the soil that is rich with nutrients to allow the plants to grow.

6. Add your plants. 

We planted 8 plants for our larger drawer, depending on the size of your container you may want to plant more or less. Just keep in mind that these plants like to grow and spread out. We also placed them inside in sort of a zig zag pattern so that one is catty corner from the next. This will allow them plenty of room to grow.

7. Water. 

Finally we watered the new plants to make sure that they are hydrated in their new home.

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I hope that this has been helpful and inspiring. I am sure excited for my new straw”babies” this spring. This is one of my favorite times of year as it is full of new life. This is one of our many planting projects this spring, and I hope that it has inspired you to go out and spend some time outside!

Let me know your fun planting projects this spring in the comments.

xoxo ariel

Living with Simplicity.

I honestly can not get over Chip and Joanna Gaines. I am so happy that a wholesome Christian American family is finally getting the spotlight in America again. Their show not only shows off their many interior design creations, but exemplifies their family values. I recently received my copy of the spring issue of their Magnolia Journal. This issue is jam packed with innovative ideas for the home along with Joanna’s thoughts on living with a simple lifestyle. There are so many reasons why I adore the Gaines, but the simple lifestyle they lead is such a goal to strive for. With so many Kardashians out there and popular culture embracing the glamorous life style it’s like a breath of fresh air to take a look at the Gaines’ life style. Here are some glimpses of the Journal that I felt were eye opening and meaningful along with some reasons why I can’t get enough of the Chip and Joanna. Enjoy!

  1. Living a Simple Life. Getting caught up in mainstream culture or always competing with the Joneses as my mother would say, gets many of us (myself included) off track of the really important things in life. I love that Chip and Joanna always bring it back to family values. Too often we are drawn to the drama in people’s lives on reality TV. With Chip and Joanna there is no drama, unless Chip loses his phone in the wet cement again (that did happen!). This issue mentions so many ways to live a simple life from decluttering your house to leaving your phone in the car when you get home from work at night, which is what Joanna does. I know these are not practical solutions for everyone, but it offers a fresh perspective on what we value in our lives.

2. Farm Life. Chip and Joanna show the value of raising a family while growing up on a  farm. The first experience I remember of farm life being publicized on TV was when Paris Hilton and Nichole Richie were sent to live on a farm on their reality TV show. Even as a little kid, I remember seeing my dad cringe at the absurdity and mockery they were making of farm life. Chip and Joanna have embraced farm life and made it something that many Americans are now seeking. My family owns a farm, but I grew up in town. I feel fortunate that I was given the best of both worlds as I have memories of going to the farm with my dad as a kid to see the horses or a new born calf. In this issue Chip touches on farm life by describing getting up at 4am daily to go check on the animals. The value of hardworking is also exuded in the life of the Gaines.

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I really loved how this issue highlights living a simple life. This is what I have been striving for lately so this hit a special feeling for me. I hope to embrace this and continue to move forth with  a simpler life style.

3. Hard Work. Nothing about the Gaines’ journey to becoming a national phenomenon has been easy. If you have read their book The Magnolia Story, you would know this (I highly recommend it if you haven’t read it!). The Gaines show that through hard work and determination along with a faith in God that they were able to conquer their dreams and beyond. I love how they pride hard work. On their show you see them teaching their kids lessons on the value of a dollar and creative ways to actually earn money; my favorite episode is when the little girls raise baby chicks to sell. Nothing from their life has simply been given to them and I find this to be very admirable about them.

4. Christian Values. I strongly believe that everyone should be able to worship how they choose to. I am a strong believer in my faith in God. He has been there for my family through many trials and tribulations. My dad celebrated this week 17 years of being cancer free when the doctors said he would only get 5 years after surgery. Through prayers and our faith in God, my dad is a living breathing miracle. The Gaines value their Christian faith, yet are subtle about it. They are not what I’ve heard referred to as Bible beaters, preaching their faith and condemning yours, but are subtle yet devoted to the Lord. I appreciate that they are strong believers in their faith. It gives me as a young adult someone to look up to and admire. They really open up about their faith in their book. I highly recommend it if you would like to know more about their experience with God.

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I love that in their issues they show normal people living normal lives. Often we open up a magazine to see the picture perfect people living the picture perfect lives. I absolutely adored the piece about a midwest couple that moved to Texas to start a ranch in the 50s; shows you to never give up on your dreams no matter how challenging and scary the path may be.

5. Valuing the Old. Before Fixer Upper became a show and the Magnolia Journal became a magazine ‘old’ was often discarded as trash to be thrown away. Chip and Joanna have taught America to value the old and cherish it. They have redone houses that have been left to rot and made them into beautiful homes to be cherished. I love watching Joanna go shopping at an antique store. Some of the items she picks out most would discard as trash, yet she makes it beautiful. The message they send is to take something that has lost it’s value and make it beautiful once again. I couldn’t think of a better way to live my life than that.

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One of my favorite parts about this issue was the wardrobe capsule piece. It discusses simplifying our wardrobe to the pieces we actually wear and love and donating the rest we don’t use. It is a way of decluttering our closet a long with helping out someone in need!

Hope you have enjoyed this blog post! I know I absolutely loved writing it. The Gaines exude morales, hard work, and a strong faith for us to all look up to. Sign up for a subscription for their next issue this summer at Magnolia Market.

xoxo ariel

Weekend Adventures: Shopping at Small Businesses

Hey y’all! I know it’s been awhile, but life keeps getting in the way. I plan to try to be a little more on top of things again now that the semester is nearing it’s end and summer is just around the corner. It seems like just yesterday I was starting freshman year at Iowa, now I am nearing my final year at Iowa. Time sure does fly. I cherish every moment I can and that includes spending most weekends with my mama! As most of you probably know, she is my number one best friend. I know that I wouldn’t be who I am in life if it wasn’t for her. She is my biggest cheerleader. Most weekends I come home from college to work on projects at my house (which I hope to be sharing with you all soon!) and to go on adventures with her. Last weekend our adventure took us to one of our favorite little towns near us Centerville. I told people I was going shopping in Centerville and they were pretty confused, but honest to God  Centerville is full of cute little stores that sell quality antiques or junk that can be used in a special DIY project. I will list some of my favorite stores below! Centerville is also home to our favorite restaurant in South East Iowa, George and Nick’s. It has the BEST pizza and never fails to disappoint. My mom and I have become somewhat regulars there on the weekend. I highly recommend their pizza along with the 5 cheese pasta, so yummy! Any ways I have decided to share our little adventure last weekend with you all hope you enjoy!

Favorite Shops:

-Gypsy Quarter: have cute clothes to sort through a long with many different rooms full of home decor

-Claudia’s: used furniture store that sells quality furniture at a low price. I purchased my dresser and a mirror there for my apartment and they are some of my favorite pieces!

-Bonnie’s Needful Things: are full of many different antiques and junk that can be used for a special DIY project. I had my eyes on a couple of things when we walked in there the last time that I hope to get my hands on in the future

Albia:

-Black Bird Primitives: one of my absolute favorite stores for rustic home decor. They recently just had their spring open house. I got some amazing pieces for the finishing touch on my bedroom. I just love looking at their windows whenever my mom and I walk by.

Outfit of the Day:

This outfit is one of my favorite casual outfits that can be worn almost anywhere. Blush pink is so popular and pretty this spring. I can’t get enough of it! Here are all the details for my outfit!

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This is my favorite casual weekend outfit. Blush is such a popular color this spring and I am obsessed. I can’t get enough of it and plan to wear more of it this spring and summer.

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Shirt. This shirt is super comfy and adorable with the collar at the top. Blush pink is so popular right now, and I scored this tee on sale for a buy one get one half off at American Eagle, which is one of my favorite stores. I also love wearing this shirt with burgundy, such as my burgundy tassel earrings. It gives it just the right pop of color.

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Grey. These grey pants I bought at American Eagle this fall are sooo comfy. They are stretchy and soft making it feel like you’re almost not wearing jeans. These can be dressed up with a sweater or worn with a tee for a more casual look. Such a good buy!

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Sunnies. These shades are my new babies since my Ray Bans bit the dust this winter, thanks to my Dad’s cat! No offense to the Ray Bans but I almost like these better. They are Quay sunglasses and I purchased them at Urban Outfitters. They were less expensive than Ray Bans and are soooo cute, so happy that I switched cause I’m a believer now!

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Denim. This denim jacket I purchased a few years ago. It is a staple for any wardrobe and can be worn with many different things. With summer right around the corner it can be worn with so many different summer dresses.

Shoes. Sorry that I forgot to take a picture of them before I came home for the weekend, but these slip on sneakers I recently bought from Target. The blush pink caught my eye and they are so comfy when walking all over campus! 3:31:17

My Dad being a small business owner, I firmly believe in this quote. Take the time to enjoy the small businesses some of them are full of the most unique treasures that you can not find in a department store.

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Black Bird Primitives on the square in Albia is one of my favorite small businesses. It is full of so many unique pieces that you can not find anywhere else. If you are into rustic decor I highly suggest stopping by. Also, absolutely adore Chip and Joanna Gaines; so sad that season 4 ended Tuesday!

Hope you have all enjoyed my recap on one of our weekend adventures! Remember to shop at small businesses, the business owners will thank you.

xoxo ariel