Monday, April 20, 2015

Radical Homemaking | In the Garden

It's Monday! Time for our weekly installment of Radical Homemaking. Interested in learning more about what that means, check out THIS post and THIS post. 

Spring is definitely here in the DFW area. We've had some deep watering from April showers and all of the trees have leafed out. This month in the garden, I'm just weeding and watering as necessary. There's nothing to harvest quite yet, much to my displeasure. Last year at this time, I had a full compliment of lettuces and kale. This year for some reason, they're slow slow slow. Perhaps it was that late freeze. Whatever the reason, I'm hopeful (as all gardeners are by nature) that they'll kick in to high gear soon. Here's are some snap shots of the garden this weened just after the rainfall.

And just for fun, here's a shot of Billie on a roosting bar in the pen.

Currently growing in the garden:

Greenleaf Lettuce
Butterleaf Lettuce
7 varieties of heirloom tomato
Black Zucchini 
Lilac Bell Pepper
Market Beans
English Peas
Crystal Apple Cucumber
Lemon Cucumber
Onions (red and white)
Asian Pear
Meyer Lemon
Lemon Mint
Giant Sunflower

Friday, April 17, 2015

Chicken Proof Garden Idea

I have a small backyard flock of five hens. They're wonderful. They do all sorts of things to improve my soil, assist in composting, eliminate bugs in my back yard and best of all, they produce eggs. But they also like to dig - like, to China. So I've recently run into some issues with letting my chickens loose in the garden. They uproot tender plants and stomp over flowers and generally don't give a crap about how hard I've worked to make my garden grow.

My back yard.

In desperation, I encircled my raised vegetable beds (pictured above) with chicken wire and hardware cloth. But this quick fix, while effective, is ugly and cumbersome to remove when I need to work in the garden. But today, I happened upon THIS post at It's a brilliant and attractive fix.

All photos via

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Houzz Tour | Jonathan & Beth Arnold

This week, I published another home tour on, where I am a freelance contributor. This sweet house was built and designed by a circle of friends in the Dallas area. The homeowners, realtor, contractor and interior designer are all friends who live in the same neighborhood. It doesn't get more "home town" than this. Read the full article and see all of the photos HERE.

Homeowners: Jonathan & Beth Arnold
Remodel Contractors: Brent Timmerman of Timmerman Developments
Interior Designer: Lynsey Purl of French Hobo Designs

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Loss is Becoming a Familiar Sensation

Last night I learned that my dear childhood friend, Kambria Wesch Doherty, lost her two and a half-year battle with Neuroendcorine Carcinoma - an extremely rare and aggressive cancer that moved quickly throughout her body and brain. Upon her initial diagnosis, Kambria was given three months to live. She beat those odds considerably and held out for 2 plus years.

I grew up in a small California town. The friends I met in kindergarten were the friends I graduated high school with. Kambria and I spent our childhoods together. We had sleep overs. Her dad coached the first basketball team we ever played on. We went to junior high dances together. We took college entrance exams together. And off and on, we met for coffee in later years to discuss college and marriage and then had our babies at the same time. As Shakespeare says, Kambria is the "calendar of my nativity". We've walked this life together.

She has many friends like me. Kambria gave herself whole-heartedly to all. She was a beacon of light and positivity, not just in her childhood, but as a mother, a wife, a teacher and throughout her battle with cancer. But today, we're grieving. We are gutted. We are torn apart. Tomorrow will be better, but today, we're silent.

"Losing love is like a window in your heart.
Everybody sees you're blown apart.
Everybody sees the wind blow."
-Paul Simon

And here we are together as kids:

Kambria leaves behind three young children and a devoted husband. Please consider donating to her fund. Cancer is not cheap. Death is not cheap. Let's give this gorgeous family some breathing room to grieve. Please visit her donation site HERE

Monday, April 13, 2015

Radical Homemaking | Spring Homestead

It's Monday! Time for our weekly installment of Radical Homemaking. Interested in learning more about what that means, check out THIS post and THIS post. 

Spring is here. The seedlings have pushed through the soil and large hungry leaves are unfurling everywhere. The chickens are in a regular laying cycle now and I've already had to whack back an influx of ivy from the alleyway - all signs that spring is well underway. 

This weekend, my family was able to spend a whole day outside enjoying the weather while waving away the first crop of mosquitoes. I'm still waiting on a grafted Jersey Black apple tree from Seed Saver's Exchange. But other than that, most of my spring veggies are in the ground. Next week I'll plant a round of giant sunflowers against the back fence. We'll love seeing the huge yellow flowers appear and the chickens will enjoy the seeds. 

Have you been able to get outside and enjoy the beginning of spring? 
Or is it still winter in your neck of the woods?

This week, ran a story about my recycled chicken coop.
Check it out HERE and see all of the photos!

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Trying a "Capsule Wardrobe"

While I was at the Texas Style Council Retreat in Austin last month, I met minimalist fashion blogger and fellow journaler, Caroline Rector. Caroline is the brains behind Un-Fancy, a blog which grew out of a desire and need to simplify her life. Every three months, she creates a capsule wardrobe consisting of 37 pieces. She wears only these 37 pieces of clothing for the entire season. Want to learn more about what, exactly, a capsule wardrobe entails? Read HERE.

Caroline's fashion philosophy really speaks to a girl like me. I'm walking the Radical Homemaking path, which of course values simplicity and waste reduction. But I also have a small closet, which is currently full of clothing I don't wear. So today, inspired by Caroline's initiative, I'm going to pare down my wardrobe. It will be easier to decide what to wear and I'll have more breathing space in my closet. The clothing that doesn't make it into this season's capsule will either be stored away for another season or donated. Wish me luck! I'll report back when I'm done.

Clea Pipe Clothes Rack from Cost Plus World Market

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Thrift Book | Complete Guide to Sewing

I am very familiar with a sewing machine, but I am in no a seamstress. Recently, my ambition has moved ahead of my skill level and I need some help. And since my Grandmother Jane is no longer alive to walk me through the steps of dressmaking and tailored finishes, I headed to the second hand book store where I found a copy of "Readers Digest Complete Guide to Sewing".

This is one of my projects this spring: to make some breezy linen tunics and shifts for the hot months ahead. This book addresses some fuzzy areas for me like sleeve holes, seam allowances, pleats and necklines. I'm also hoping to learn how to install a hidden zipper. I'll let you know how it all goes. But until then, you should keep your eyes peeled for this book from your local second hand bookseller.


Linen Tunic Inspiration: