Blogging: The Details

I talk about nearly every topic out there on this blog so I thought I might expand on one particular category that I only occasionally write about (and by expand, I mean that maybe one day this topic will end up with a category button on that there sidebar. Maybe?).

I have been blogging for something like six or seven years and a lot has changed. I sometimes don’t even like to refer to this site as a blog because of all of the connotations associated with blogs (both good and bad) that have grown over the years. But, it’s a blog – it’s a blog that is my family and creative journal. I’ve kept this little journal alive because it is an outlet, that for reasons I can’t even put into words, I enjoy immensely (ahhh and that doesn’t even cover it). I can’t put those reasons into full-fledged thoughts because words like: creativity, friendship, archiving, over-sharing, community, home, capturing moments, loving on my family, getting crafty… just sort of tumble out when I think about this blog. It’s a hobby that means that much to me.

And a better look behind-the-scenes? That might be kind of cool. The topic of blogging and what it entails may be of interest only to my fellow bloggers, or perhaps others will think it neat too, but regardless I promise to post on it only every once in a while. It will allow me to share thoughts on things like: sponsored content, tech support, social media, affiliate links, editorial planning (or lack there of), writing with a clear voice, privacy in the blogging world vs. transparency, and other what-does-it-take ideas. I know I’ve sort of tackled some of these topics in the past, but I think that this will all be fresh.

Business of Blogging | The Details | PepperDesignBlog.com

If you’re curious on what I’ve shared in the past, here’s a link to my current editorial calendar set up (which I still love) and here are tech tips posts that I’ve grouped together but that focus on things like managing your inbox, free illustration tools, developer tricks and so on. A lot of these general ‘blogging’ posts may end up categorized under that topic as well.

Okay, so there’s my declaration! Let it begin! (I have to admit that I like to add these sorts of topics to the editorial calendar because they’re easy to write – I’m experiencing everything I’m writing about literally as I’m writing it. (Yay, blogging about blogging.)) To kick it off I thought I might start by sharing a post on sponsored content very soon, and I secretly hope that it all works out to be something that is interesting to everyone.

Cheers and happy weekend! xo :)

DIY Craft Paper Flags

Craft Paper Flags | PepperDesignBlog.com

What’s very inexpensive (you can buy it by the roll) and super convenient to have on hand? Basic brown craft paper. We love the stuff around here. Great for wrapping up doggie bags, creating massive finger painting drawings on, covering tables for simple kid-proof protection, and – who knew – for super cute and easy flags.

Craft Paper Flags | PepperDesignBlog.com

I just made a handful for our next party during a little art session. I’m keeping them in a plastic baggie in our saran wrap/foil drawer until they might come in handy. Maybe as cupcake toppers? for spearing drink garnishes? cheese flags?

Craft Paper Flags | PepperDesignBlog.com

Brown paper = simple, classic.

Craft Paper Flags | PepperDesignBlog.com

A packet of 10 in a cute little cellophane baggie would be a great addition to a cocktail kit. My mind is currently racing with more craft paper ideas! The stuff is awesome! (I sometimes buy craft paper by the sheet at a craft store like Micheal’s and I often get it in a huge roll at home improvement stores like Lowe’s. Painting or grout aisle, if I’m remembering correctly.)

PS more crafty ideas here.

Our 2015 Spring Veggie Garden

Remember last year when I went all out with our summer garden? I adored that garden and it was sort of Liv and my’s pet project for a good portion of the summer (and actually well into the fall). My winter garden did not fair as well but it did produce mini everything for a couple of months.

We are about a month into spring and our veggies/herbs/edible flowers (!) have officially been planted.

Our Spring Garden, 2015 | PepperDesignBlog.com

It’s exciting that some of this took off right away. We actually planted that nasturtium (pretty orange/red flowers there in the front) and the tall sunflowers (towards the back) from seed in the winter time, but as soon as they broke ground they zoomed. I think we have two sunflowers in there from an entire packet of seeds, and likewise just a few actual nasturtium plants despite maybe 15 seeds going into the ground. May the best seedling win.

Our Spring Garden, 2015 | PepperDesignBlog.com

Our tomatoes pictured here are about three weeks old (to our garden, that is), they went in first after a random trip to the Lowe’s garden section. In three weeks they tripled in size! The rest of the spring planting happened just recently and has included beans, squash and basil. It’s a hodge podge but I don’t mind the busy-ness! Bring on the veggies.

Our Spring Garden, 2015 | PepperDesignBlog.com

Our Spring Garden, 2015 | PepperDesignBlog.com

I added trellis to the back of the garden (along the right wall) in hopes that I could grow beans up it. My winter garden resulted in dead peas and my spring garden has already killed all but two of the edamame planted. I think that that little strip just does not get enough sun and that I ought to stop trying there :(. As a test I’ve planted one bean plant in a cage in full sun (see above) to see if it’s just a bean family thing or if we actually can grow them after all.

My little edamame holding on to dear life!

Our Spring Garden, 2015 | PepperDesignBlog.com

Many of our herbs are around from last year, including sage, oregano, mint (chocolate and regular – it took over there for a while! we had to mojito it back into a proper size) and thyme. I added more basil this time around so that we’d have plenty to pair with the new heirloom tomatoes (insert heart emoji eyes here).

Our Spring Garden, 2015 | PepperDesignBlog.com

Those strawberries above produced two miniature fruits last year but they stuck around through the winter so I’m letting them keep their garden box space rent free for just a bit longer.

Here’s the full line up of spring 2015 additions:

Our Spring Garden, 2015 | PepperDesignBlog.com

I am most excited about the artichoke, though he started as a sad little fellow that the nursery discounted to 50% off because of condition. Fingers crossed. (We used our local Armstrong Garden nursery for all but the tomato plants). I may add an eggplant if I can train the squash and cucumbers to crawl down the walls of the garden instead of the usual spreading out. I’m packing a lot into this little garden box space.

I also can’t wait to start harvesting those heirloom tomatoes! As mentioned above, nothing like a perfectly ripe heirloom + fresh farmer’s market mozzarella + a basil leaf + olive oil + fat grains of salt for an excellent summer appetizer. Oh. My. Goodness.

New to the trial and error process this year:

-amended soil from the nursery (mixed it right into last year’s compost pile soil)
-a light layer of mulch (instead of cocoa hulls, which we did last year and which smelled amazing but ended up molding)

In the above photos you can see that I took some before and some after mulch placement.

Our beets started as wee little seedlings in the winter and are still growing. Who knew that it took like six months to produce a decently sized beet? I will treasure my store bought beets ever the more.

Our Spring Garden, 2015 | PepperDesignBlog.com

Not pictured is a similar sweet potato with a similar story. Anyone know how to harvest those? The potato plant started as a potato, grew roots, was planted and now the brilliant lime green leaves have taken over. When do I know to dig the root veggies up?

We knew it was time to plant our spring garden when I had to abruptly pull almost all of our winter veggie plants from an infestation of aphids. They took over! One day no bugs, next day they were 3-4 layers deep. Ugh it was really gross.

Here are my underpaid workers a week before I pulled all of the broccoli and Brussel sprouts.

Our Spring Garden, 2015 | PepperDesignBlog.com

See how much smaller that nasturtium was just a bit ago? Crazy. Side note: nasturtium (like pansies and a few other varieties) are completely edible. They’re so pretty in salads, as garnish or even floating in drinks. I’m excited to experiment, though they do have a bite to them.

Those tall yellow flowers behind the girls are blooming broccoli flowers (who knew!). They were beautiful.

Another plant (like the beets) that took forever and a day to produce anything were the Brussel sprouts. I was able to save one full size plant after the aphid attack but it still had only dollhouse-sized vegetable sprouts after an entire season. I’m wondering if any Brussel sprouts will be enjoyed this season by the Spenla family?

Here’s one of the bad Brussels just before I pulled it:

Our Spring Garden, 2015 | PepperDesignBlog.com

See the white powdery mildew? That plant had a few other problems, too. Supposedly you can wipe those leaves down with a baking soda + water spray (instead of cutting just the leaves, which can damage the tender veggies that they cover) and it should be fine, but I ended up pulling this plant because all of the issues.

Do you have veggies in the ground? What are you planting this year? Or is a garden totally off of your radar :).

More garden box goodies, including what we did with the harvest last year.

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