Saturday, August 19, 2017

Avoiding the August Flower Gardening Doldrums

 
The lazy days of summer are upon us.
We have finished with most of our summer traveling and now it is time to get back to taking care of business around here....especially in the garden.
I have a LOVE/HATE relationship with August gardening.  
I LOVE that everything is growing and lots of things are blooming.....but the fact is....by mid-August most plants are past their prime.
The garden is in the DOLDRUMS
dol·drums
ˈdōldrəmz,ˈdäldrəmz/
noun
plural noun: doldrums
a state or period of inactivity, stagnation, or depression.


Here are some tips that I found to combat the "stagnation"!

Now I just have to get myself out there and "just do it"!


Be a Dead-Head!  

(no...not the fanatic follower of the band)

I know if I keep cutting back the spent flowers on the Geraniums, Zinnias, Dahlias and Snapdragons, they will bloom until frost. 



The snapdragon that is tallest needs to be cut back to encourage branching and more flowers.





This stand of salvia is on the second bloom after being brutally trimmed a few weeks ago.





 I try to "proactively" dead head.  This means I have flowers to make tiny bouquets to put all over.









Out with the old....and ugly!

This is the time to be tough and ruthless....cut back everything that is overgrown or yellowing.  Since the garden is pretty lush....it makes sense to get rid of things that have seen better days.  This also lets the pretty plants shine a bit.

I have no idea what happened to these Impatiens....but they just have to go!





 Replacement Plants
I probably won't replace or add too many plants this year.....but this is a great way to add and enhance your garden. Check out the sales at your local nursery.  If you have spots in the garden that need a boost for next year, this is a great time to buy some interesting perennials.
Mr. S did exactly that when he gave me these two wonderful Hydrangeas for my birthday.  They will be refreshing eye catchers in the fading garden. I can't wait to get then in the ground!



Weed....Weed....Weed!

This is probably the hardest thing to get done in August....so do what I say...not what I do!

Every week or so....I force myself to head out covered in bug spray and attack some of the weeds. 
I read an interesting tip that might be worth doing.....get some bags of mulch and add some to the edges of the garden beds.....HMMMM....

Rest on Your Laurels and Celebrate!
There are always bright spots in the garden to enjoy.....Focus on the Late Summer and Autumn bloomers.... 
Morning Glory - BTW did you know these are toxic to cats!!!?

Dazzling Dahlia

 
Joe Pye Weed attracts butterflies


Purple Coneflower

Hydrangea

Tree Hydrangea



Black Eyed Susan
Have A Great Day! 


 

 





Monday, August 7, 2017

Monday Musings

Happy Monday!
It has been too long since I posted anything here....
Why?
It seemed like all the stuff that has been keeping me busy didn't really fit with the mission of Sweetwater Style.
It seemed that my projects really aren't anything to blog about.






All the "writers block" advice articles say just go for it and start writing.  So that is what I will do!









Mr. S and I took a trip to Voyageur's National Park with some friends.  We stayed at the charming Kettle Falls Hotel in a "Villa".....
 Our adventures started when our room came with an overpowering ODOR of vomit!  Yikes....but luckily we were given the room directly above.  It had  no kitchen, but we were allowed to use the kitchen in the "vomit" room.  The smell gradually went away....and all was well. 

I clearly am the poster girl for high fashion on the water.....and I even caught a fish or two.....





 We used the Air Fryer to cook the fish without a bunch of oil.  Oh...YUMMY!









The scenery was amazing and so was the weather!





Nothing beats time spent with good friends making memories!










































And then there are the Grands.....
Getting to know this sweet little Grand Girl is beyond wonderful
I forgot how all consuming babies can be....how fortunate we are to spend that time!
The Grandboy is a constant source of wonder!
All boy and using whole sentences to have conversations with us!



Helping GG (GreatGrandma) with her knitting!

This photo was taken BEFORE he completely unwound the whole skein of yarn!





Ahhh.....what is better than a costume box so that you can instantly become a SUPER HERO!



Loving the excitement of a summer time parade!


















How interesting.....an a bit A..musing!  All this Monday morning musing has given me about 10 ideas to blog about.  I guess the writer's block advice is correct....just start writing and the thoughts will come!
Stay Tuned...
Have a wonderful day....and thanks for listening!


Thursday, July 27, 2017

DIY Cleaners Using Dawn Detergent


If you don't have a bottle of this in your house....
You need to put it on your list of must buys!

I know I could use this for it's primary purpose....washing dishes....

BUT...honestly...I use the bulk stuff from Costco on a regular basis....

Using a decorative bottle with a pouring top is something I learned from Martha Stewart's Good Things!

I posted about that 5 or 6 years ago.....



So....what DO I use Dawn Detergent for?

You will not believe how well this works!
Spray it on.....walk away for awhile.....scrub a little.....DONE!

This formula also does a great job on crusty water stained glass and plastic.
These two acrylic beverage tubs are favorites of mine.  They get used for lots of things besides beverages.....like conditioning flowers for events.  I was almost ready to give up on being able to put them out for entertaining.....you can see how crusty the build up was.  A little of the "miracle" sauce and they were back to sparkly and shiny.

On to Part TWO


Seriously folks....this truly is almost magic.

I have tried it on a bunch of things with pretty darn good results.


One of Marvin the cat's least favorite "issues" is his BULIMIA!  Yup...he overeats and purges all over the carpet!  Since the cat food has orange dye in it....the stains are GROSS!
Of course, he always chooses to leave his treasures on the beige carpet!



 It takes a little time and some elbow grease with the solution of Dawn and Hydrogen Peroxide.

Because it is pretty soapy....it takes a good bit of rinsing and blotting to get all the soap residue up.


 Can you believe the way this works!?
Now...I just need to troll through the house and find the old stains....and get them erased!

I don't have photos of all the successful stain removal, but here are a couple of examples that have worked:

Wine stain on a shirt that had been washed and dried several times......gone in 10 minutes!
Grease stain on my favorite gray sweatshirt.....gone!
Dirty white tennis shoes....scrubbed....and bright white again!

This concoction will be my go to for pesky stains from now on!

I guess you could say:

Have A Great Day!



Monday, July 17, 2017

How to Upholster an Old Office Chair

 Yup.....we all have at least one office chair.
An office or task chair is one of those necessities that you really can't do without.
Even new ones usually lack any kind of decor charm.
The one in my sewing room IS NOT new.....and it certainly has no charm!

I learned to "upscale" an office chair a couple of years ago to make an eyesore part of the decor.

I could not believe how easy it is to do.
Well....it is easy to do if you have the right KIND of chair.
Notice that the cushions on this chair are inserted in a plastic frame.
All it takes for this project is:

Some really pretty fabric!


AND.....a couple of really basic tools.


It is just a matter of cutting two pieces of fabric the size of the cushion with about 2 inches of overlap.

Most decorator fabric is 54-60 inches wide.
You only need about a yard of fabric to do both the back and seat cushion.
But of course you will need to measure to be sure!


Cut the fabric to size.
Round the corners off to reduce the amount of fabric as you go around the frame.


It is a simple matter to just push the fabric in between the plastic frame and the cushion.






The putty knife usually works well.
Sometimes the screw driver helps to pull the frame out a bit to get the fabric started.

Make sure to pull and stretch the fabric tight.

One suggestion is to do part of the top, then part of the bottom, and part of each side.  This helps you get a tight fit.
Finish by going all the way around.

There is plenty of give in the plastic to get the fabric in there.

For about $10 and an hour of work time...the ugly utilitarian necessity....now looks like part of the decor!


When I walked by the framed poster that was hanging in a different room....I said "AHA!"
The colors couldn't be a better match.

Here are a couple of posts I did a few years ago that give even more details.





The "manly" desk chair for Mr. S.









The "old version" of my sewing chair.












I hope this inspires you to upscale your own chair.

Have A Great Day!
Link Parties
Coastal Charm
Make It Pretty Monday 
I DIYed That 
Eclectic Red Barn

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Do Ahead Summer Drinks for a Crowd



In the good old Summertime there are two staples that need to be in the Sweetwater refrigerator at all times:

UNsweetened Sun Tea and Lemonade.

 Around here....it is "not okay" to run out of either!
Over the years, I have learned a couple of tricks to make sure that never happens.
These tricks really come in handy when we have informal gatherings.

It is always so hard to plan how much tea and lemonade you will need....
I hate making gigantic containers of beverages that take up space in the refrigerator and might not get used.

So.......I keep some "concentrate" of these drinks ready to mix quickly when the pitcher is empty.
These concentrates are almost "instant" with out the "instant" taste.

STRONG TEA CONCENTRATE 

16 teabags
1 quart hot water

Let this sit for a couple of hours.
Give the tea bags a stir and squish them against the side of the bowl every once in a while.

(don't you love my technical recipe directions)

Discard the tea bags...again wring out all that strong tea goodness....


 


 Store the concentrate in the refrigerator.

This container will make at least 2 gallons of tea.

Just fill your pitcher 3/4 full of very cold water and pour in the concentrate to fill it up.


This recipe makes tea that is not cloudy.  It mimics sun tea that way.

When I have tried boiling this on the stove....the result is cloudy tea.

I imagine there is science in there somewhere....hmmmm!




Quick and Easy "Homemade" Lemonade

Lemonade
1 part Simple Syrup
*1 part RealLemon Juice
4 parts Water
Lemon slices for garnish

Mix it up and enjoy!






Simple syrup recipe

1 part sugar
1 part water

Bring to a rolling boil.
Cool and store in refrigerator for several weeks.

 1 quart of this makes a lot of lemonade!  (it is the base for Hummingbird food too!)
*oh.....don't try to be thrifty with your lemon juice!  I bought some at the dollar store and discovered that the taste was totally strange....who knew!  I go with RealLemon....

How to Make An Arnold Palmer
Source

 Legend has it that the late great famous golfer just started making these at home and started taking them on the course when he played.
He would often ask a bartender to mix ice tea and lemonade.....and when someone overheard him...they asked for "that Palmer Drink".  

Arnold was always embarrassed to ask for the drink by name.  He quipped that it sounded stupid to ask for a "ME"!

Anyway......the recipe for an Arnold Palmer is pretty simple....
1 part iced tea
1 part lemonade
Ice!

 Obviously....these recipes aren't new or earth shattering.
The tip/trick is to make the concentrate ahead of time.
Then you have the fixings for large quantities of great tasting and refreshing beverages without the hassle of big containers.

I would love to hear all about your favorite summer beverages....and your tricks for serving them.

Have a Great Day!