Painted cans on wall photo:

Nine Unique Container Gardens

Everyone needs a plant in their life. They give you clean air and bring a smile to your face. You might be thinking, “Great, but I kill every plant I touch.” Don’t worry, there are plenty of low maintenance plants that anyone can keep alive!  Now, when you decide to get a plant, what will you put it in?

If you are into upcycling and repurposing, you’ll love these ideas for plant containers.

Containers for Small Plant

1 Egg Cartons – Eggs are a staple that we use often, so why not use their carton to start some seedlings? Any egg carton will do, but cardboard egg cartons can be put right into the ground since they will decompose. Just tear apart the sections and plant them in some dirt and you’ll have your own baby plant from seed!

Suggested plants to start from seed:

  • Vegetables
  • Flowers
  • Herbs like oregano, thyme, or parsley

2 Shells from the Beach – If you’ve been to the beach and collected some shells recently, or if you plan on it, those would be a great, unique container for some small plants.

Suggested plants:

  • Small succulents
  • Mini-African violets
  • Mini wax plant
  • Any other tiny plant you can find. There are usually sections of tiny plants at plant nurseries.

Containers for Mid-Size Plants

3 Empty Yogurt Cups – Personally, I love yogurt and eat it almost every day. The cups that yogurt come in are perfect for small plants.

4 Steel or Aluminum Cans – Similar to yogurt cups, cans are also a very common kitchen item. You can paint both yogurt cups and cans as a fun craft and poke a hole in the bottom, so the plants get proper drainage!

5 Thrifted or Unused Mugs – There are so many cute mugs out there, but I think most of us have too many. If you have any you’re not using, plants could be put in them. If you don’t have any extra mugs laying around but you like the idea, there are usually plenty at any thrift store. Make sure to put some rocks or another drainage solution at the bottom before you put the plant in, so the plants can breathe in the mugs!
Suggested plants:
• Spider plant
• Chinese money plant
• Peperomia
• Nerve plants
• String of pearls
• Herbs

Photo of herbs in plastic containers

 

Containers for Large Plants
6 Coffee Container – Coffee ground containers are a common kitchen item for most people. Like yogurt cups and cans, you can poke a hole in the bottom for drainage.
7 Colanders – These would be great for any outdoor plant, especially since they have naturally great drainage. Use a colander you have that’s old and rusty or find one at a thrift store and put a plant in it!
8 Old Basket – A basket would be an adorable home for a plant. If you have any old or damaged baskets, those would be perfect for a plant or two, depending on the size of the basket and the plant.
9 Tires – Tires make a great gardening container; they are sturdy and relatively easy to find. I would recommend only using tires outdoors as they can be quite dirty. You can get creative with old tires and paint them any color you want. Tires are also easy to stack to make whatever design you desire.

Photo of plant in tire:

Suggested house plants:
• Pothos
• Philodendron
• Snake plant
• Ferns
• English ivy
• ZZ plant
• Hoya
• Calathea
Suggested outdoor plants:
• Croton
• Lantana
• Caladium
• Million bells
• Foxtail ferns
• Pelargonium


Unique gardening containers are anything you want them to be, from an old shoe to tires. Use your imagination and have fun. You might be surprised by what wonderful creations you come up with.

Inspired by the upcycling ideas for plant containers? Check out these ideas for repurposing everyday items.

Household Repurposing Ideas!

A Quick Guide to Staining Your Deck

Staining your deck adds major curb appeal to your home, while also preserving your deck. It’s relatively easy to stain your deck; there are just some important aspects you want to remember. Let’s discover some helpful tips!

Where do I start?

With cleaning! You’ll need to sweep your deck thoroughly to begin.

Unless your deck was just built, you’ll need to clean it. Pressure washing is an option but it soaks the wood so you’ll have to wait ample time for the wood to dry. You can also try a deck cleaner, which is more cost effective at about $10-20 a bottle. If needed, sand rough or uneven areas of the decking before staining. Fix any blemishes and/or replace rotted or broken deck planks, etc. Deck cleaners also take time to dry, often the best bet is a combo of pressure washing and a cleaner.

What if my deck has been stained previously?

You’ll want to apply a deck stripper first or use a scraping method if only little remains, then you’ll clean as mentioned above. It is not recommended to just apply over top of old stain.

When should I stain my deck?

Warm seasons are your best bet. Late spring and early summer are ideal. However, consider your area’s rainy season. Your deck will need about two days to dry after being cleaned and then about two days to dry from the stain. Keep in mind the time frame, too. Projects always take longer than you expect. Give yourself a whole day for this project.

Wood_Family_Testimonial_2018_078
Preserve your deck today!

What supplies do I need?

  • Experts recommend using a paint pad attached to a pole (I recommend two for quicker coverage or if one breaks) for the easiest and most even application. You can use a hand brush, but at the expense of your back. You could also try a roller. Or if you really want the job to go quickly, you can purchase a sprayer.
  • Don’t forget your stain! You’ll want a stain over a sealant as they offer better protection. Measure your area and try to estimate how much paint you’ll need. You can even select a paint color if you’d rather. Keep in mind for stains you may want to reapply yearly. However, most people reapply ever 3 – 5 years.
  • Also having plastic and tape or a tarp of some kind to cover the side of your home with will be helpful to avoid stain getting on it.
  • Rags for any mistakes!

Now throw the stain on?

Not quite. You’ll want to tape off any areas that could easily be stained due to close proximity to your deck. If your deck has had time to dry and you’ve checked the weather for two dry days during application – you’re ready to start!

What strategy should I use?

Start with the tops of railings and move down, painting the walking surface last. Be sure to paint underneath railing. Experts recommend laying a cloth drop with a paint pad container on it as you work through the staining process.

That’s it!

Now that you’ve stained your deck allow at least 2-3 days for it to dry completely. It may need an extra coat or touch ups so take care of those as needed. Enjoy your deck and the sunshine! Now throw a party and invite your neighbors and show off that deck!

Play Summer Games With the Family!

woman looking through clothes in her closet

How to Reuse 5 Everyday Items

We have so many options with recycling. You might have a recycling bin at your house that your city picks up. Or you might have your own bin you take to a recycling center. With gently used items, you can always donate them to a local resale store or to someone you know would get good use out of them. But what about the items that don’t fit into either category?

It can be hard to figure out what to do with those items. So, we’ll be looking at how to reuse items that you can’t recycle but aren’t good for the trash either.

Some items can’t be tossed due to a chemical or chemicals in their makeup. For these items many recyclers and re-users recommend not burning items you can’t throw away because burning usually releases the chemicals quickly into the air. So what can you do with these objects?

Reusing is a good alternative as it allows the product to stay intact and not fill a landfill. Check out these solution suggestions for 5 common items on how to reuse them!

  1. Tires. Tires are a necessity if you have a car and if you don’t want to pay to have them collected, you’ll probably be left with some over time. Instead of just letting them pile up, why not find a creative way to give them new life? Check out some of these fun ideas:
    Teeter totter, tree swing, climbers, etc.
    Ottomans (outdoor)
    Flower planter
    Outdoor stairs / edging for garden
  2. Old clothes and/or towels (that aren’t donatable). If your clothes are too old to donate, but you don’t want to throw them away – these solutions may be good for you!
    • Cut them up into rags for cleaning/ various projects
    • Make them into blankets
    Make reusable bags out them
  3. Scrap wood. Reusing wood is a great idea, especially for outside projects. Depending on age and if the wood is treated or not can dictate what project you reuse it for. Typically, most woods are fine to be reused outside for a project.
    • Outdoor bench / table
    • Planter box for flowers
  4. Mirrors. These are a great way to add perceived space or light. Whether broken (wear gloves and take care using) or whole mirrors can add personality to any space.
    • Use various sizes and tie them or hook them along your fence or outdoor space for added flair
    • Make a mosaic (concreate steppers, on flower pots)
    More great ideas
  5. Hardback books. Old books or ones you’re not interested in reading or donating can be a perfect project! They require a little more creativity, but you can find a good use for them!
    • Paint the pages and reuse it as a journal
    • Use pages as a garland
    Tons of more projects here!

We hope that this post helps you think through how to creatively reuse some stubborn items. However, more than that, we hope this helps you get into the mindset of thinking through what you purchase and how you can use it long term when the original function is no longer applicable. Thinking this way helps us all to be resourceful consumers.

Join 161 other subscribers


Make Your Kitchen Sustainable

6 Shade Ideas for Your Yard This Summer

We’ve entered the part of summer that is just hot no matter what you do. You may have spent the season hoping for some relief, but it’s not too late to make a dream relaxation spot in your yard! I’ll be looking at some shade ideas that you can do yourself or purchase. Not only can shades be great for you and your family outside, but they can also potentially save energy if they cover part of your home, too!

Let’s check out some cool ways to stay shaded!

Sun sailSun sails are a cute, modern way to protect an area from the sun. They are rather inexpensive but offer decent protection. Check out some options here. The trick to making one is getting your measurements right for the area that needs fabric and researching what fabric would do best. Here’s a sun sail how to you might be interested in.

Sun sails add a touch of relaxation!
Sun sails add a touch of relaxation!

Palapa – If you’re in a coastal area, this is perfect –  Palapa has that island vibe. You can find it at most home improvement stores. Palapas umbrellas are popular. You could make your own, or add palapas to whatever shade project you’re interested in.

Trees – Obviously these take time to grow, but you can choose something that grows fast or purchase something that’s already grown to a certain size. This can provide some good shade that will only grow.

Plants with trellis – A trellis is a great idea for gardeners. The trellis itself will block some of the sunlight, but you can look up vines or plans that climb so that it will cover them well. Here are some great options for climbing plants! Be careful not to put the trellis too close to your home, as it may encourage the vine/ plant to grow onto your home. Though vines look lovely on a home, they are actually bad for the siding on your home and can attract bugs to your home.

Patio curtains – There are many ways to implement curtain shades. You can hang them from anywhere vertically to help the angle of the sun. You can hang them from a deck, a pergola, or install your own base and hang them from there.

Pergola – Thesecan be expensive but make a great atmosphere in your yard. Though they are a little bit more involved, they can make a great project! Try on of these free pergola plans!

Keep Cool With This Post!

I hope these ideas inspire you to choose an option and maybe even make it a project for you and your family! Stay cool!

Tips for a Stress-free Summer Getaway

Summer means time to relax and get away. Vacations or weekend trips are always fun but sometimes it can be a little stressful to prepare for a trip, especially if you have kids. Here are some tips on how you can make it a little easier on you!

Packing:

  • Create a list for each person you need to pack for to make sure no items are forgotten.
    • Remember, most items can be bought where you are going in case you do forget something!
  • If flying, remember to have one checked bag for items that cannot be carried on.
    • Be sure to pack your child’s comfort item, a change of clothes, and necessity items in your carry-on just in case luggage arrives late or lost.
  • Doing laundry prior to your vacation will minimize the amount that will be needed done when you come back.
Suitcase with someone packing clothes into it.

House Care:

  • Depending on how long you will be gone, you may want to ask your neighbor to collect your mail and keep an eye on your home.
    • You can also stop your mail temporarily and have it delivered when you return.
  • If you have pets or plants that need to be taken care of, ask someone to stay at your house while you are away.
  • Putting a light on a timer in your home will help to deter break-ins while you are away. 

Travel:

  • If you have young kids, or even if you want the convenience, plan on where you will eat and make reservations in advance, so you won’t have to fight a crowd or have a wait time to go eat.
  • Plan out an itinerary for each day so you don’t have to plan out your day while on vacation.
  • Budget for each day – If you have a certain amount saved for each day it allows you to spend some extra without worrying that you will bust your budget!

All in all, the more you can plan ahead, the less stress you may endure once the day comes for the vacation. Remember to relax and enjoy your time with the people you love while on your trip!

Need more summer inspiration? Check out these summer challenges to get you motivated!


Small office space within mobile home

Creating an Office Space in Your Mobile Home

Whether or not you work from home, a home office is a space that can come in handy. It can be used for handling important items like your finances or a designated space for your kids to do their homework.

What do you do if you don’t have a specific office space in your mobile home though? Here are some ways that you can convert a nook in your home to your very own home office!

What should you look for when designating a space? First, decide how much space you will be needing. Overall, you won’t need much to make a makeshift office.

Here are some suggestions to help you consider your needs:

  • Do you need a place to write?
  • Do you have just a computer with one monitor, or two?
  • Will you need space for a printer or a place for a phone?
  • Will you need all the above?

Pinpointing your needs will help you create the ideal nook and utilize the space in the best way for you!

Young boy working on schoolwork at a desk nook in a mobile home.

Once you have decided on what all you will need for your office, look around your home for spaces that you can utilize.

Some examples are:

  • A closet – You can take the doors off or leave them on, then close them to hide your office! You can slide a desk in or even make a built-in space and add a chair. To get power here, run an extension cord.
  • A spare nook in your kitchen – Do you have a coffee bar that you can move and utilize that space?
  • An unused corner – You can create a corner desk or standard one to create your space.
  • Are you a family that rarely uses the kitchen table to eat? Take advantage of the large space and set up your home office there!
  • Do you have any other unused space areas that could be better utilized? You can use that space to set up shop there.

If you don’t have a desk already, you can get crafty to create the space you need! You could:

  • Use a spare table you or a friend may have
  • Dive in at a thrift store to find the perfect desk or table
  • Search yard sales
  • Build one
  • Convert an old bookshelf

Once you have the basics set up, find yourself a comfortable chair. This could be one you have around your home or can search for one the same way you found your desk space.

Finally, personalize! Take your small space and decorate. Add plants, pictures, mirrors, and a lamp to name a few suggestions to make the space cozy and your own little office away from work.

Get Small Space Inspiration!


How to Thrift for Decor

Decorating your manufactured home is one of the best things about homeownership. It’s so fun to make a space your own and reflect the things you love. However, furniture and décor can get expensive, but you shouldn’t have to limit your creativity. That’s where thrifting comes in. You can spend less and set your home up for comfortable living for you and your family. You have the freedom to leave the item as is or make a project out of it to fit your style. It can be as simple as a coat of paint, or you can reinvent the wheel.

Let’s dig into the process and some tips for how to thrift for décor. First, we’ll start with what to think through before you even hit the stores.

Before you go

  • Consider the style of your mobile home.
    • Walk around your house and try to see what unique characteristics stand out. Maybe your home has modern, industrial, or farmhouse details. Look to your kitchen, living space, or exterior for inspiration.
    • Next, consider what goes along with the style that you like and that reflects your interests.
  • Think goals and problem solving.
    • What do you want to achieve in your home? Whether you have a blank canvas with an empty home, or are looking to add more, or alter your space – think of how you want to feel in your home. Do you want to be relaxed, energized, or encouraged? There are so many things you can achieve through furniture and décor.
    • Next, think about any opportunity areas you want to solve with some creativity in your home. Maybe your space feels cluttered, and you need organization desperately. Perhaps your space is small, and you think outside the box to find ways to make storage in your home. You may have wall batten strips and want to find lightweight material décor to hang instead of heavy items that are hard on the walls.
  • Keep a list.
    • Now that you’ve thought through your home, style, and needs you can make a list of items you want and need. That way when you go shopping you have an idea of what you’re looking for and are ready to shop. Some popular recommended items to look out for are: complete lamps, mirrors, bookshelves, baskets, trays, etc.
Books, a planter with plant, and an hour glass in view.

At the store(s)

  • Go often and check in at obscure times.
    • Thrift stores have different inventory all the time. So, it’s important to keep a steady eye on them, especially seasonally as people clean out their homes. As much as you can with your schedule, it’s recommended to visit during the day on Mondays and Tuesdays, this is after the weekends when most people purge.
  • Keep a creative mind.
    • Don’t be limited by what you see. If you like some aspect of an item, keep in mind all the ways you could alter it. Stick to your list, but also leave a space for spontaneity – you might just find and create your perfect piece.
Cleaning supplies, spray bottle, limes, oranges, scrubber, and handheld broom.

When you get home

  • Prepping your items to enter your mobile home.
    • There are many methods for cleaning your newly thrifted items. There are three main things to consider: airing the items out, reducing/ ridding odor from the item, and cleaning the item. 
    • The easiest way to start is to put your items outside in the sun for a bit or in a garage/ covered area to let the item breathe. This will help to air the item out and get rid of any potential bugs. Try to keep your items dry and free from tight, humid places. Once you’ve done this you can separate items by what material they are made of, as certain materials will need different cleaning methods.
    • Next, if you have stronger, deep set-in smells that didn’t dissipate from the suggestion above, many thrifters put a bowl of baking soda in an item or if it’s the right material – mix it into the surface and scrub it in.
    • Lastly, it’s time to clean the items. The best bet for many materials is to wash it with an old rag, hot water, and a natural soap or vinegar. You might even soak some items in a bucket of hot water and let them sit. For items that are fabric in some capacity – you can spot clean the item. Some people suggest enzyme cleaners. A few other options are a steam cleaner and/ or a vacuum for things like drawers or cabinets. Once you’ve done this, if the item can go in the washer or the dishwasher, go ahead and give it a heavy-duty wash.
  • Making items your own. Now it’s time to make these items all your own if you so choose. Check out our Pinterest account for inspiration. We hope you love the final product from your thrifting finds!

Has this got you thinking that your mobile home can be the place you see in magazines? It can! It just takes some planning, creativity, and follow through. We hope that this has you interested in starting your home projects or finishing your last one!


Furniture Painting Inspiration!

Maintaining Your Water Heater

Your water heater is a modern-day convenience. We don’t always think about it like that or having to live without them until something goes wrong. Many of us have experienced when a water heater has died – and it’s not fun. Cold showers or water leaks are not welcomed surprises.

Water heaters last an average of 10 years and like any appliance, they require a little maintenance to keep working efficiently. To get the most out of your water heater it’s a good idea to do some check-ins.  Once a year, schedule time to either hire someone to complete maintenance or make plans to do it yourself. Also, be sure to consult the owner’s manual that came with the water heater so that you can follow the manufacturer’s recommended steps and to safely perform the maintenance.  In addition, hire a licensed plumber or pipe fitter to aide in any maintenance if you are unsure how to safely accomplish these tasks.

A visual inspection is something you can do yourself. This helps to identify any issues on the exterior such as loose screws, nuts, bolts, and gaskets. The goal with the visual inspection is to see what is worn and may need replacing and check for signs of rust or corrosion.

General Maintenance Tips to Consider:

  • Have the tank drained once or twice a year. During this process, flush the tank a couple of times to make sure all the sediment and debris is cleared out of the tank.
  • Besides just cleaning the water, the anode rod should be checked once a year. The purpose of this rod is to attract all the debris and sediment. This rod typically needs replacing every three to five years.

Photo of Water heater in utility closet

  • If your water heater has a temperature and pressure relief valve (T&P valve), add checking the T&P valve to your list to make sure it is in proper working order. This is important to check as pressure can build up in the tank.  As mentioned above, be sure to consult the owner’s manual in order to safely perform this task. Not all water heaters have a T&P valve.

If your water heater is gas, it will have this valve. Some electric water heaters also have this.

  • If you have a tankless water heater, make sure to descale your water heater to rid the sediment and debris. Make sure the tankless heater is set appropriately and not too high. Doing this will decrease the buildup.

Signs your water heater may need maintenance:

  • leaks
  • low water pressure
  • hear clicking or if your water is rusty

Keeping a mindful eye on your water heater at least once a year will clue you into when it is nearing the end of its life span and help to keep it working efficiently. Doing this should help prevent any of those unwanted surprises.


Keep Maintaining Your Home!


Things to Consider When Buying a Used Mobile Home

Many people shy away from buying used homes in general. They are intimidated by the work that could potentially go into fixing up a home or living in a place that may have exceeded its warranty. These are valid hesitancies, however buying used also opens the door to many positive possibilities. We’re going to explore a little bit about what it means to buy a used mobile home. It may be more of an exciting journey than you were expecting!

You can make it all your own – Personalization is such an important factor in homeownership. It really is true in the world of manufactured homes today that you can create the home you want. Mobile homes are versatile in more ways than one. If you purchase a fixer upper, you can start from scratch essentially and make the home into a place of your dreams.

Check the data plate – All mobile homes have a data plate located within their interiors. It’s usually under the kitchen sink, in the master bedroom closet, or utility room electrical panel.
You want to check this out in any home you consider. It tells you information about how the home was manufactured, including important information like the wind zone, roof load, and other items you need to know as a buyer.

Enjoy your dream location – Mobile homes are after all – mobile. If you don’t want to be confined by what’s already been built or a specific location, then this may be a good option. As long as the home’s condition does not prevent relocation and relocating the home will satisfy local requirements, you could place your home by a lake, in a holler on the mountains, and anywhere in-between. Many people also like the ability to place a home on family land. You should be aware that moving a mobile home could be costly – local movers in your area should be able to provide estimates.

Beautiful kitchen in a manufactured home

Set up and delivery – You want to be sure to find out what the seller offers, if anything, in the way of set up and delivery. Sometimes it’s included in the cost and sometimes it’s separate. It’s also important to use a reputable professional mover. Do your research, especially if you choose your own.

Price difference/ fit your budget – There’s no doubt one of the perks of mobile homes is the price. They typically cost less than site-built homes per square foot, especially when used. They won’t hit your wallet quite as hard, and instead of always resorting to renting – they offer the ability to own a home and stay in budget.

Less money to fix up/ maintain – Since mobile homes are manufactured that means usually that they are built with more economical materials, meaning that they may be less expensive to repair or maintain. This will all depend on your specific model, but will usually ring true.

Rental power – You might be considering a mobile home as secondary housing or as an investment opportunity. In this case you could purchase a mobile home to rent out to friends or tenants.

Check Out First-time Home Buyer Tips!

A used mobile home may be the choice for you or it may not be, but it’s always smart to evaluate all your options when purchasing.

 

Oakbur Quill Co..png