Friday, July 22, 2011

Galvanized Steel

Summer is really here and it is a hot one!  We have worked to clean up our gardens a bit, I should say a lot!  They have been sorely neglected in the past few years....other things just took a priority.  Anyway, as I have said earlier, my husband loves to garden and as a result receives a few garden magazines.   The "Cottage Garden" is a new one that I ordered for him as a Christmas gift and it is full of great ideas.  One of the the ideas is to use antique or old galvanized steel tubs, troughs, buckets, etc., for plantings.  Theses "tubs" give the gardens some dimension, height, interest, and can keep those plants that tend to take over, more controlled.  While antiquing with our family a few weeks ago, I was searching for some old tubs and my husband didn't really "get it."  I found one for a good price and snapped it up.  Then, on our trip through the Upper Peninsula for a wedding, we stopped at a cute little antique shop and hit the " mother lode!"  They had a lot of galvanized steel, at a great price, but we had very little room in the van.  I bargained and we crammed in what we could.  Then we came home and got to work....

 I love this great big tub, but also got another slightly smaller tub with a curved bottom, similar to the one I already found.  They weren't too rusty, but I thought that the  more used they were, the better they looked.  My husband drilled a few holes in the bottom of each tub....which was very hard for him to do!   After all, they were good tubs in good condition!!!

 I was thrilled to get what I call my "horse trough tub."  Perfect for a small herb garden!

 The old coal bucket was a great find.  Again, my husband was not so sure!
 This smaller bucket is oval shaped and what I thought would be perfect to hang, full of flowers.
 This is one of the curved bottom tubs, actually attached to this tree stump.  The tub has a name painted on the side, which makes it even more unique.  This is filled with beautiful shade plants.  I will take updated pictures later in the summer to show the plants, hopefully, spilling over the sides.
 I just love the way the coal bucket looks, so I took a few pictures of it.  My daughter helped me to pick the flowers for all of the tubs...I think we did pretty well!

 Here is the big flat bottomed tub.  We just sat this tub in the garden and filled it with color.
 Here is a closer look at the tub and flowers.

 We hung the oval bucket on our deck...we're waiting for the colors to spill over...

 This is the other curved bottom tub.  I wanted to try lowering it a bit into the ground because the "Black Eyed Susan's" tend to get so tall.  Also, this garden is located right at the end of our driveway, so I didn't want a planting too tall to hide the other plantings and flowers.
  I think submerging it a bit was a good idea...
 We planted the herb garden in the "Horse Trough Tub" on our deck.  It has full sun, is easy to harvest when we're cooking, and turned out really nice.  I love having it sooo close.
I love this use for these old tubs and buckets, and if you have one with a rusted out hole in the bottom, even better!  And, yes, my husband thinks they look great!

Hope you're having a great summer...try to stay cool!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Cookie Cutters for the 4th of July

This past month has been a very family oriented month.  Also, a really wonderful month.  Number 1- My family and I drove to Minnesota to attend my niece's wedding on the shores of Lake Superior.  It was beautiful, the weather cooperated, and Duluth turned out to be a great place to visit.  There was so much to do and see!  Number 2- Then we headed to the "Thumb" for my nephew's (really cousin's) wedding.   Again, it was a beautiful wedding, the weather was perfect, and the reception in Bay City was great.  The best part was seeing so many members of the family.  My daughter, who lives in NYC, and my son who lives in Detroit, were able to come to both weddings.   In fact,  my daughter was able to visit Michigan for two weeks, actually 2 very fast weeks!  Number 3- We headed to the middle of the state for the 4th of July to celebrate my MIL's birthday.  Number 4- Then my daughter and I traveled back to another area of the thumb to re-connect with my aunt and cousin on my dad's side.  Number 5- Finally, we (my daughter and I) headed to Ohio for a few days to visit aunts and uncles and many cousins.  It was a lot of traveling in a month, but we had fun, and of course, we laughed and laughed!

Our 4th of July Party was a "potluck," and my  daughter and I decided to decorate some cookies for the occasion.  Now, that we're having so much fun with cookies, we are taking every opportunity to make cookies.  So, we pulled out the cookie cutter collection and decided on the following cookies:

My daughter designed a "pinwheel" cookie from the square cutter.  (She is very talented and creative!)  We had to make a hot dog for the 4th of July, because what is the 4th without a good old American hot dog?!?  Besides, my son loves hot dogs.  We decided on making ice cream cones, and sky rockets (using the birdhouse again and a small star that we bent a bit).  We used the small circle to make a few baseballs, mainly for my GREAT nephew who loves all kinds of balls, and the larger circle to make a flag symbol.   Oh, and last, but not least, a star.

We made the cookies and spent a couple of hours making the piping frosting and flooding frosting and ended up with a lot of different colors.  Next time, I think we will cut down on the amount of colors!  Then, it was time to decorate.  It took us quite awhile, but we really enjoyed ourselves, and we think that the cookies turned out pretty well...(yummy, too!).

Happy 4th of July!  As you can see, we tried to cover a real 4th of July celebration!

Ice cream cones!  Strawberry, orange sherbet, lemon, chocolate, raspberry, chocolate chunk, fudge ripple, and cherry swirl!  One of these days, I want to use different extracts so that the cookies taste like what they look like...if you know what I mean.  We found out that I really like to decorate the "food" cookies, and my daughter really likes to decorate the non-food cookies.  Can you tell which ice cream cone she decorated?  It's like those puzzles where you have to find and circle the object that is different.

A "close up,"  Can't you just imagine that it tastes like strawberry?

Hot Dogs!  Come and get your hot dogs!  I really had fun decorating these.   I tried to make a Coney Dog, but it looked as messy as a real Coney Dog...not so good for a cookie!

A "close-up" .... Mustard, ketchup, onions and relish..yum!

Here's my nephew ready to gobble up his "dog." 

Here are a few of our "sky rockets."  The "flares" were attached with Royal Icing and craft sticks.  The flag symbols were made from large circles,  and my daughter made the beautiful red, white, and blue exploding fireworks by "dragging" the flooding icing.

A "close up" of one of the rockets.  This one was made by me, the other two by my daughter.

As I said earlier, my daughter came up with the idea for "pinwheels" and made the pattern.  Then, we both had fun decorating.  She made five of them, I made one.  Can you tell which one?  (I made the one with the red dots and the the blue stripes).  This is her first time piping and flooding, pretty amazing, huh?

My GREAT nephew seemed to like his pinwheel cookie.  The stick definitely made eating it a bit easier!

More cookie "close-ups."

Yup, he definitely seems to be enjoying his cookie sitting with his "Noni."  He is soooooo cute! 

My daughter made the baseball... we actually had to look up the stitching design on the computer!

"My Pinwheel"

"Mmmm  Mmmm Good!"  (I had a hard time limiting my pictures of this little guy, to three!)

Here is a platter of the "Red, White, and Blue" cookies.

Finally, a mixture of cookies that shouts, "Happy 4th of July!!!"

Hope you had a wonderful holiday weekend and were able to spend it with close family and friends!  Summer is here...time to swim, cook out, read books, go to the beach, and enjoy every minute!  Oh yes, and time to eat hot dogs, ice cream cones, and cookies!