how to: determine your soil type

how to: determine your soil type
{in the garden}

Soil is found on the upper most layer of the Earth. It is a mixture of minerals, organic matter, and nutrients to support plant life. It is one the world's most important natural resources as we need our soil to grow plants to feed the world’s population.

In order to grow healthy plants it is important to know the soil type in your garden. 


There are different types of soils we as gardeners have to work with and these types are sand, silt, and clay. We have to figure out the best combination of those three for our gardens and our specific plant needs. A good soil combination will provide the plants with the vital nutrients, water and air to thrive. Each of the soils have important qualities and they are:

Sand
Sandy soil has the large dry and gritty particles. It doesn't hold water well because of the huge spaces between the particles. Sandy soil won’t form a ball when you try to roll it and it will crumble easily.

Silt
Silty soil has smooth and small particles. It retains water longer and drains poorly. When you roll silty soil with your hands it will leave dirt on your skin.

Clay
Clay soil has the smallest particles and holds water well but drainage is slow. When it dries out it can become hard and very compact. You can roll up clay soil easily into a ball.

How these three are made up and combined defines the soil type. Now when we combine those three into a mixture we get loam. Loam is described as follows:

Loam
Loam and its varieties is a mixture of sand, silt and clay. It is the ideal soil type for gardens and it is mixed to be fertile, well-drained and easily workable in the garden.

Depending on your location and its seasonal rainfall, loam will give your plants what they need. A mostly sandy loam is best for plants that require less water and a more clay based loam for plants that need more water. By looking up each specific plant we can find out which soil it grows best in.

Now, two more soils should be kept in mind here and they are peat and chalk type soils:

Peat
Peat soils are mainly organic matter and dead vegetation and are usually very fertile, holding a lot of water. Peat is a soil amendment used in potting soils and planting mixes and it works great in seed starting mixtures.

Chalk
Chalky soils do not retain water and are low in fertility but we use it for some vegetables and perennials. We usually improve chalky soils by mixing it with coarse sand, peat and compost.

When you have determined what soil you have and what type of soil you should add for your plants, you should also consider its pH. The soil pH is a number that describes how acid (lime-free) or alkaline (lime-rich) your soil is. You can get a pH tester kit from your garden centre.

how to: determine your soil type
{The acidity of the soil, or pH level, can affect some plants bloom colour too}
Sometimes it takes a lot of trial and error (and around my garden, lot's of dead plants) until you get the soil type mixed right. Do you have any more tips or suggestions for determining soil types in the garden? Please let me know in the comments section below.

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inspired by: Country Chic Paint Cherry Blossom and Vanilla Frosting

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inspired by: Country Chic Paint Cherry Blossom and Vanilla Frosting
{Cherry Blossom and Vanilla Frosting}

I've been busy painting again! I just made over this little desk in Country Chic Paint's Cherry Blossom which is the prettiest of pinks and then creamy Vanilla Frosting for the drawers. It's been slightly distressed and new hardware added and then I applied Tough Coat to protect it. Doesn't it look oh-so-lovely? I think it would look perfect in a girls room.

Here's how I painted my desk in Country Chic Paint
Cherry Blossom and Vanilla Frosting


My painted desk tutorial is on the Country Chic Paint blog where I've posted how to paint with this easy to apply VOC free paint! You can read my guest post here:

Pretty in Pink with a Touch of Frosting


I am a part of the 2014 Blogger Squad for Country Chic Paint! We are a team of DIY bloggers and you can find our painted projects here:

Country Chic Paint Blog


There are a lot of amazing furniture makeovers and home décor items there to inspire you. We are showing you that painting projects with Country Chic Paint are fun and so easy that you can do it too!

Country Chic Paint Cherry Blossom and Vanilla Frosting
{my pretty little desk done!}

Note: I have been selected to be on the 2014 Blogger Squad for Country Chic Paint and I have been provided paint for testing and review purposes. The creativity is entirely my own and I have not been paid to publish positive comments. All opinions here will always be mine! 
 

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inspired by: DIY Easter eggs

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DIY Easter eggs - Inspire Me Heather
{my eggs makeover}

Every year I'm blown away by the creativity out there when it comes to DIY Easter eggs. Wow, bloggers sure know how to decorate an egg!

My DIY was something I saw last year and I liked it because it uses up those plastic eggs that the Easter bunny hides with treats inside, and I have lot's of those! All I did was cut up strips of brown kraft paper and then I mixed white glue and water together in equal parts. I dredged my brown paper strips into the glue mixture and then slapped them onto my plastic egg and let them all dry. I think they turned out great, they suit my neutral decorating style and I can use them over and over again.

Here's what I saw other bloggers doing to their Easter eggs


My favourites have to be the floral wreath crowned Easter eggs DIY on the Flax & Twine blog, Anne painted little sleeping faces on the eggs and then topped them with crowns made out of baby's breath - so adorable!

I liked the idea of just drawing something on an egg and I really liked the DIY – doodle Easter egg over at By Wilma blog. She said you don't have to be a great drawer to make these but I don't know... I don't think mine could turn out half as good as Wilmas.

I liked these neutral DIY modern Easter eggs and more over at Design, Dining and Diapers. Taryn painted each paper maché egg just a little different with black and white and all together they look beautiful.

I saw this marbelized polymer clay eggs tutorial at One Dog Woof blog and thought that they would make a fun project and they look so pretty too. Thanks ChiWei!

I was looking for an idea to make some eggs for my son and came across these totally awesome DIY LEGO Easter eggs, he'd love to make some for sure! The tutorial is on the It's Always Autumn blog plus Autumn has posted the free printable sheet of LEGO graphics too.

Cate at Go Make Me blog posted some blue dyed Easter eggs using red cabbage on her blog and I thought they looked great, I liked the easy dye method using simple ingredients too - love that!

If you don't want to decorate eggs, what about decorating some balloons to look like eggs? Isn't that a super cute idea? Kelly at DIY Studio blog posted her DIY Easter egg balloons and they turned out so cool.

DIY Easter eggs - strips of brown kraft paper dredged in a mixture of white glue and water then slapped onto plastic egg and allowed to dry - Inspire Me Heather
{my DIY eggs in the making}

Do you decorate Easter eggs? What's been your favourite DIY egg this year?


I'm linking my post to:
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how to - paint window trim

{at my house}

We have a lot of windows at our house. It's an old house and these windows have lot's of trim work. Some are still single pane with the original wood trim but we've been slowly going through and replacing each one with new double pane. They all need to get painted!

Here's how I paint my window trim plus some tips for you:


1. Remove any window treatments such as curtains, blinds, etc... you know, so you don’t get paint on them. Take off any window hardware that you can too. Protect your work area with a drop cloth.

2. Remove any peeling or loose paint with a scraper or putty knife and try not to gouge.  Note: make sure your existing paint doesn't contain lead, especially if your home is older - please look up how to properly remove paint that contains lead.

3. Fill any holes in with a non-shrinking spackling paste or wood filler, allow some time to dry and then sand it smooth with sandpaper.

4. If you are re-caulking your windows, this is a good time to do it.

5. Lightly sand or scuff your area to be painted. If your trim has been previously painted use coarse 80 to 120 grit sandpaper to sand out large imperfections or old hardened paint globs. Use smooth 180 grit sandpaper or a sanding sponge all over to take off any shine, if the paint on there is glossy your new paint might not adhere as well.

6. Wipe away any dust from sanding with a wet rag and clean any stains with water and vinegar and allow it to dry. You can use the vacuum with a brush attachment to clean up the dust from the edges and corners.

7. Apply painters tape if you want to protect areas that you don’t want paint on. Skip this step if you want less waste and you trust your steady painting hand.

8. You can apply Vaseline carefully to the glass, any paint that gets on it will just wipe away later.

9. Get yourself a stiff angled paint brush with a short handle, this is going to make your painting experience a whole lot better!

10. If you are painting bare wood, prime first and allow the primer paint to dry.

11. If you have existing paint, find out if it is oil based - that’s another animal. You’ll want oil based primer on oil based paint. Most trim nowadays is water based paint and some trim paint comes with primer already in it, you’ll have to talk to your paint store professional to get the right paint.

12. Start painting! Try this tip if you are using water based paint: submerge your paint brush bristles in water and then flick it (outside) to get most of the water off. Your brush will absorb less paint and it will make your painting go really smooth and your clean-up so much better.

13. Paint your windows and allow them to dry. Remember that glossy or semi-glossy paint shows the most imperfections but is the most easy to keep clean in the long run.

14. Clean up any paint drips right away with a damp cloth or your spouse’s t-shirt that you can’t stand. Ooops, sorry.

15. Keep in mind any windows that need to open. Don’t paint your windows shut! I run my windows up and down an hour or so after painting which can be hard if you've removed the hardware to do it.

16. Remove your painters tape within the hour so that the painters tape doesn't have a chance to stick really good to your wall. Peel off slowly!

17. Touch up any paint.

18. With a good scraper or razor blade, clean up any paint that has gotten onto the glass.

{my trusty old scraper}

That's it! I hope that helps you paint your window trim. Do you have any more tips or suggestions? Please let me know in the comments section below.


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{stories of a house} DIY frames for chart art

{stories of a house} DIY frames for chart art
{in the family room}

I am decorating our new family room. This space used to be our master bedroom and I'm slowly converting it into a hang out space for all of us. It's got a lot of maps and charts going on in there - not like it's a "theme", well okay maybe just a little bit. I've hung a big world map that I've had for years and years and then my old navigational chart from my first boat and now my first aeronautical chart from a long time ago too. I like the idea of decorating with maps because it sparks conversation. There is travel and adventure in maps and charts plus all of mine have history and so many stories.

DIY frames for chart art - Inspire Me Heather
{frames before}
I found a couple of matching frames at the second hand shop, they were the right shape for the aeronautical chart I wanted to hang. The three cut out mats also looked cool too, that was a bonus.

DIY frames with Country Chic Paint and Gold Wax - Inspire Me Heather
{applying Gold Wax}

These frames needed to pop against my wall so I painted them with County Chic Paint "Dark Roast". I slightly distressed the edges with sandpaper and then applied some Country Chic Paint "Gold Wax" with a cloth and then buffed it in.

DIY frames for chart art - Inspire Me Heather
{frames and chart art done}

The gold gave a slight shimmer to my frames, specially where it was lightly distressed and it goes great with the brown "Dark Roast", love that stuff!

DIY frames for chart art - Inspire Me Heather
{ready to hang}

I didn't cut my charts into three either, the mats fit perfectly over and showed some of my favourite places to go by air and to land at.

DIY frames for chart art - Inspire Me Heather
{Vancouver chart}

Do you know what the difference is between a map and a chart? You can't use a map for navigation. You can't use these charts either, they are too old. Anyway, back to my chart art project for the family room.

DIY frames for chart art - Inspire Me Heather
{my family room now}

There they are hung between the world map. Do you like them? There's still lots more to do in my family room but that's another story.

Note: I have been selected to be on the 2014 Blogger Squad for Country Chic Paint and I have been provided paint for testing and review purposes. The creativity is entirely my own and I have not been paid to publish positive comments. All opinions here will always be mine! These DIY frames for chart art were brought to you by:
 

If you liked my story, may I suggest more in this series:

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inspired by: finding my decorating style

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Finding my decorating style - Inspire Me Heather
{my home}

I've been thinking of my decorating style lately. I wanted to update my style as I wrote on my social media profiles. I had "I have a passion for coastal inspired, farmhouse decorating and cottage gardening" but if you looked at my blog, my colours and style here didn't reflect that.

When I stated looking around the internet I noticed that most major on-line magazines have quizzes to help me find my decorating style. I took a couple of quizzes and that went okay.

It was hard to nail down "my style" though as I incorporate many styles into my home. What I wrote on my style is true, we are restoring a 1920's Craftsman on old farmland just minutes away from the ocean. I think I just needed to add eclectic, transitional or maybe contemporary to it.

Here's how I found my decorating style


I like what Rhoda at Southern Hospitality had to say about defining your decorating style and that most of us are a mix of styles. I liked her inspiration photos too, that's my style.

Carrie at Making Lemonade wrote in her post 15 minute decorating: know your personal style and she suggests making a list of what themes you see in a mood board you create on Pinterest.

Disha at Design Décor and Disha wrote a great post to help know your decorating style and explained the differences between contemporary/modern, vintage/retro, traditional, rustic, and eclectic.

Dannielle at Style for a Happy Home blog wrote about finding your decorating style and suggests finding your style though magazines and such and go with the "there is no right or wrong. It’s about what catches your eye" attitude.

Once I had determined "my style" I found Melissas post here at The Inspired Room for 3 tips to mix & match what you have to get the style you want to be great, just perfect (and my style too - electric cottage).

If you need some help finding your style, I found this overcoming decorating paralysis :: get to work! {style bootcamp} post over at Fieldstone Hill blog, Darlene sure knows her stuff!

Finding my decorating style - Inspire Me Heather
{my home}

My style is now "I have a contemporary decorating style that is coastal inspired with eclectic farmhouse details and just a touch of classic cottage". What do you think?

If you could write down your decorating style in just one sentence, what would it be?

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how to - freshen up your towels

How to freshen up your towels - Inspire Me Heather
{the DIY way}

If your smelly old crunchy towels need a little freshening up, I have some tips and suggestions for you to get them Spring fresh once again.

Here are my tips to freshen up your towels


1) First of all, never put wet towels in the hamper. That’s how they can get stinky! Always let your towels air dry.

2) To wash your towels, start with a clean washing machine. Run an empty load on the cleaning cycle or with just hot water and bleach. I cleaned my washer out in the morning and then let the washer sit with the door open all day when I was at work.

3) When you are ready to wash, don’t over-fill the washing machine. The towels have to be able to move around freely in the washer.

4) Wash in hot water or if you have a washing machine with a sanitizing option, use that.

5) You can use a laundry booster to soften the water and to help neutralize odours such as Borax, OxyClean, or plain old baking soda with your regular detergent; just don’t use as much detergent.

6) If you use a little bleach in addition to your detergent, your towels will be whiter but the bleach will weaken the fibres on the towel over time and your towels might not last as long.

7) Do not use fabric softener with your towels. Fabric softeners can leave a coating on your towels and that coating will eventually make your towels water repellent – that’s not going to dry you, is it?

8) Don’t use a dryer sheet either, they are just covered in chemical fabric softeners. The chemicals rub off the dryer sheet and coat your towels, yuck. You could use a dryer ball if you want, they help soften fabrics without any nasty chemicals.

9) Put your towels in the dryer as soon as they are done washing and make sure they are completely dry before folding and putting away.

10) If all that doesn't work for you, or if your towels are super duper stinky, you could try this method: wash your towels in a complete cycle with hot water and white vinegar only, then run a complete cycle again with hot water and baking soda only. Don’t combine the vinegar and the baking soda, you will get a chemical reaction resembling a volcano. Don’t use bleach with this method.

With those few steps, your towels should look and feel as good as new! Do you have any more tips or suggestions? Please let me know in the comments section below.

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