I like my garden to look full, not perfect, and always well-manicured.  You could say I'm a very laid-back gardener and in the summer I let things go a bit and it's nice to just enjoy it.  The oregano is beautiful right now and it's getting really thick.  I'll hang out on the patio sofa with a cold drink and just look around the garden and see how things are doing.  I find having a garden is very therapeutic because when I'm digging in the garden I'm just looking at what's in front of me and not thinking about anything else.  

btw the mint is especially refreshing in a summer drink OR tea.

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One of the routines I started to do is to preserve the oregano from our garden. Having the ability to mosey to the patio and clip my own herbs, vegetables and flowers is a dream come true.  Last spring I purchased a small oregano plant from the produce section at the grocery store and set it in the garden to grow.

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Drying Oregano

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The simplest method for drying oregano is to hang dry it. I know there are several other methods out there but for me, this is the best. 

Hang to Dry

Using twine I simply tie a few pieces of oregano together in a bunch at the stem. Then I hang the bundles on a hook in a warm place inside that gets some direct sunlight. I wait about 3-6 weeks for the oregano to dry before taking the bundles down and getting them ready to store in containers.
 
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Removing the Leaves

I slide my hand down the stems emptying the leaves into a bowl.  This part can get a bit messy but I don't mind because the aroma is wonderful. 

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Storing

Then I crumble the leaves so the dried oregano can be stored in jars.

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During this time of year, I cook with fresh herbs.  I'll clip a bunch and display them on the kitchen counter for easy access.  In the Winter, when I can't grow my own I'll use the dry oregano that I currently dried and stored.  I used my DYMO hand-held label maker to create the label on the mason jar. 

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I have a collection of mason jars and store-bought herb jars that I like to refill.  You can buy your own herb jars to create your own herb display. Remember to keep them in a dark corner of the kitchen or in a cabinet or drawer to preserve their freshness. 

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Before I had a garden I used my kitchen windowsill. A kitchen windowsill is enough to have a mini herb collection.  You can buy oregano, basil, parsley, or sage already potted and keep them for cooking.  A window box or a DIY vertical planter are other small-scale options that are simple and inexpensive.  Below are some of my DIY planter ideas that are easy to make.


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SHOP MY AMAZON GARDEN FINDS


Mechanix Wear Gardening Gloves 






Miracle-GRO Cedar Raised Garden Bed






Premium Bypass Pruning Shears






Volcom Women's Throw Shade Straw Hat





Amagabeli Garden & Home Decorative Garden Fence


xx,

Julie


The patio is finished and I've truly never been happier! It's exactly what I envisioned for this small space; a serene extension of our home to sit and relax when the weather is nice. If you saw my previous post about WHAT I PURCHASED FOR OUR SMALL PATIO then you know this post is all about the decor. 


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Our patio definitely needed some cleaning, especially after the pollen season.  It was nice to empty the patio, give it a good scrubbing, and get started on creating a serene outdoor living space with the beautiful items I purchased.


I arranged our four-year-old SOFA on the patio and did a little styling and tidying up.  Then I added a couple of new pieces.  The first item is this sweet BISTRO SET from Amazon, it's such a great table for two and when we have guests there is plenty of seating on the sofa. I love the idea of summer entertaining that feels special, but without a lot of fuss.  I set the table with classic blue and white and I clipped early hydrangeas from the lush bush on the side of our house.  I will clip more again after they turn blue and bring them inside to display.


I wanted colors for the patio that would make the surrounding garden and trees pop and I am just loving the black and white color palette I picked. It's just so beautiful and so classic you can't go wrong with black and white, especially in the summer.  


Two years ago we added this tiny garden next to the patio. My husband built it and  I planted vegetables, it was great to have but the tomatoes outgrew the garden space and intruded onto the patio.  This year I planted the tomatoes in GROW BAGS and placed them on the other side of the yard in a sunny location.  Some of the tomatoes are starting to ripen and I can't wait to pick them.  Now our garden is filled with lavender, herbs, leafy greens, and flowers. I love sitting in, staring at, and relaxing in this serene living space.  


On a breezy day, all the leaves rustle and dance around. It really is a beautiful sound.  We also enjoy the sweet sound of the birds.


I brought my indoor pillows outside to make the sofa, even more, relaxing with a coastal vibe.  These pillow covers are designed by me and can be found right here in my SHOP.  I don't worry about them getting dirty because they are machine washable, however, if there is a chance of rain I will bring them inside only because I don't want the inserts to get wet. Featured are the SHORE pillow covers.

 
The second item I purchased is this beautiful BLACK AND WHITE PARASOL UMBRELLA.  I love how this umbrella provides shade from the early afternoon sun and how it completes the cafe-style look that I envisioned.  We love having a meal or snack among the vegetation of the garden. 


The bistro table set and umbrella make this space really cozy, relaxing, and enjoyable.  It's such a great place to sit with a book and a cold summer drink. Or just stare at the splendor of the blossoming flowers and herbs in the garden and think of what needs a little nip, tuck, or clip.


Today I clipped oregano and will gather the leafy stems in bundles to dry.  I will share this with you in an upcoming post.


This simple outdoor refresh project was a total joy!  Every single thing is totally custom and reflects what we need in this season of life we are in right now.  We love feeling a connection with nature and having a serene outdoor living space to hang out in during the summer is one of the best comforts of home.  


Thank you so much for reading until the end!  If you enjoyed this post please subscribe to my newsletter.

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xx,
Julie


Happy summer everyone!  Just a few weeks ago my husband cleaned up our patio space and now all it needs is some decorating love.  That's where I come in!  

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For our DIY bluestone patio, my plan is to maximize the 10'x10' space by setting up two different zones.  One for dining and one for lounging. 
Our Patio

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I purchased a black and white patio sofa about four years ago so I thought I would make it simple and use these colors as my inspiration for the design. For me, these timeless colors add elegance and make a space look crisp and neat without much effort.   


Here is what I purchased for our small patio


BISTRO TABLE SET
This bistro table set is elegant, simple and the perfect size for just the two of us and our small patio. If you love this set as much as I do you can find it at my Amazon shop under Home Favorites.  It comes in 8 different colors if you're not so keen on the black set.

Amazon



UMBRELLA
I've had my eye on a black and white striped umbrella for a long time and this one stole my heart. I love the cafe vibe it will bring to our patio.  





SOFA
This patio sofa purchased four years ago is in good condition and will go back on the patio.   

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Target Threshold-Fernhill Patio Sofa




PILLOWS
Decorating with pillows is the simplest and most cost-effective way to enhance a patio. I plan on bringing some of my indoor pillows outside to amp up my space.  The covers are made from durable cotton and have a zipper so if they get dirty I can easily pop them off and toss them in the wash. I just have to remember to bring them inside when it rains to protect the insert.  The pillows below are from My Shop.
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GROW BAGS
We have a tiny garden next to the patio, last year I planted two tomato plants and they took over the garden and part of the patio.  So in order to prevent that from happening again this year, I will grow the tomatoes in grow bags. I purchased THESE from Amazon.



And that about wraps it up so hang tight because I'll be doing a full blog post on how I decorated our patio with all of these fabulous items.  

Please come back and Thank you for stopping by
xx,
Julie

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About 90 percent of items in our home are things I bought second-hand or picked up on the side of the road.  My favorite places to shop second-hand are consignment stores, yard sales, and estate sales.  

Decorating is always exciting for me, but I find that there's something special about spring that makes it even more of a thrill!  The rainy days of early spring let me know that soon the grass will be green and the buds will once again bloom. This is a signal for me to brighten things up inside my home with color through flowers and simple decor that isn't expensive.  It's also a chance to relieve some of the clutter that has accumulated over the winter months and to reorganize things for a fresh new start.    

If you are looking for creative ideas to brighten up the gloomy days of spring inside your home click through to get inspiration.  I loaded this post up with some of my favorite earlier spring decor ideas that I hope will fill you with an abundance of creativity to brighten up your home for spring.     

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SWEET MINI DAFFODILS

I start small by adding fresh flowers.  This simple way of decorating is an inexpensive way to brighten up rainy days.  I like to clip flowers from my yard, but since it's still chilly here in early spring it's not possible so I'll purchase inexpensive seasonal flowers from the grocery store and display them in a variety of ways.

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THE JOY OF LILACS

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HOW TO MAKE WOODY BRANCH FLOWERS LAST LONGER


Style a bookshelf with color:

Here I styled mine with a mix of vintage pieces and small-sized coastal prints.

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Or go big and hang artwork above a bookcase


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Or a mantel
A good tip to remember is if you go big with your artwork make sure the colors in the art coordinate with the colors in your home. 

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Without spending too much money, a great way to brighten up a room for spring is with decorative throw pillows.  You can really cater to your color palette as to what you're feeling at that time.  I use pillows that have zippers instead of ones that are sewn shut.  The reason I do this is that pillow covers take up less storage space, and I like to change my pillows each season so it's just easier for me to zip off one cover and swap it for another. 

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Paint furniture 

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Or take it up a notch and paint your front door a bright color.


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In this post, I share my tips and tricks on how I decorate with faux flowers to make them look real.

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Get crafty
Create artwork to lean on a bookshelf, make a colorful centerpiece for your dining table, and don't forget your front door with a cheerful wreath.  These Colorful and simple craft projects are quick and fun to make on any day even if it's a gloomy one.

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Go organic with a wreath made from natural materials
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Thank you for sticking around till the end of this post and I hope you enjoyed clicking through the links for inspiration on creative decor ideas that brighten up the gloomy days of spring inside your home.

xo
Julie

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