For Dragonflies And Me

  (Snover, Michigan)
Enjoy the everyday life I love to live!
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Window box Gardening, Easy Jewelry Magnets, Make Pillows with Old Shirts, Honey, Almond & Oats Granola and Yummy Spring Potato Salad!

Spring is such an exciting time of year... I love all the flowering trees and shrubs... in my opinion if it doesn't bloom at some point, why bother having it! Although I do admit the beautiful colors of Autumn in the fall with all the maples and other trees bursting forth in spectacular hues of orange, red, yellow and bronze is stunning as well... I welcome spring with open arms, dream for summer and long for fall...  

Container's are so fun to plant in and add such an interesting element to our gardens.  I love the rustic look which I try to incorporate using old wooden drawers, tool boxes and crates; rusty old tin buckets, wash tubs and even chicken waterers & feeders; even old clay drain tiles make great planters when they are staggered in height and overflowing with petunias.  Every house has windows therefore it can have window boxes.  Window Boxes are just another type of container in my opinion, with the exception that they add height and dimension on the walls!  Here are some tips for window boxes but they are relevant for containers of all types!  Enjoy and be creative!
Window Box Tips~
*Decide on the type of garden's you have and then the box you would like~ wooden, plastic, wrought iron with coconut bark liners or a row of pots on a shelf (see photo attached)... I am sure there are many more ideas!
*Measure before you buy or build~ Too small looks as though you don't have enough and too big just looks like a mistake!
*Don't let your plants bake in the box!  If one of the sides will cook in the hot afternoon sun, insulate that side with one of these easy solutions; a)Simply put a piece of 1" Styrofoam or thick corrugated cardboard up against that side before filling with soil; b)Use a smaller box set inside the larger one, fill in the gap with peat moss.
Keeping the soil cooler will promote vigorous root growth. 
*Pack em' in tight!  The most stunning window boxes are those that are full and overflowing with flowers.  Include plants that will give you height as well as trailing over the edges; mix different color foliage as well as blooms to add more interest.
*Be sure to water and fertilize regularly, tightly packed window boxes as well as containers need extra help with the dense root systems they will have.
*Change the containers soil every year!  Dump the old soil into a flower bed.
*Keep color year round! In fall replace your summer plantings with mums and gourds, then when winter comes put evergreen boughs with lights.
*If you have a kitchen window that you have easy access to, try planting some fresh herbs in the box for easy snipping. 
*Jewelry Magnets
Instead of letting vintage brooches gather dust in your jewelry box, turn them into refrigerator magnets: Use a pair of needle-nose pliers to remove the pin hardware from the back of each brooch (most fittings will come off easily); then affix a super strong magnet with a small bead of glue — use Gorilla Super Glue. Let dry overnight. Your grocery list has never looked more glam!

*Take recycling another step~ try these super easy to make Pillows using any old shirt or dress with a button up front or back! 

Step 1:
Iron shirt to smooth out all wrinkles. Button it, then pin the shirt's front and back to each other to keep them together when cutting.
Step 2:
Cut out the shirt to match the shape of your pillow insert — adding two inches to both the width and length, and centering the row of buttons down the front. (You'll now have two pieces of fabric.)
Step 3:
Re-pin the fabric so the shirt's finished sides face each other. Sew the pieces together using a 6/8-inch seam. Snip the corners at an angle to ease turning.
Step 4:
Unbutton the fabric and turn the pillowcase right side out. Iron, then re-button.
Step 5:
Top stitch around the case twice — first 1/8 inch from the edges, then 3/8 inch from the edges — to finish it.
Step 6:
Unbutton the case, insert the pillow, then re-button and fluff.

Follow these instructions to add rickrack trim to your tailor-made cushions.

Cut an old shirt as described in Steps 1 and 2, but adding only 1/2 inch to both the fabric's width and length. You will have two pieces of material: one with buttons (keep them closed) and one without. Take the piece without buttons and pin rickrack along the perimeter of its front side. Rickrack should be parallel to the edges with no overhang. Machine-baste the rickrack onto the fabric using a scant 1/8-inch seam (you will just be sewing across the top of the rickrack to hold it in place — the trimming will flip up once the pillow is inserted). Pin the two pieces of fabric together so the side with the buttons and the side with the rickrack face each other. Sew together using a 1/4-inch seam. Unbutton the case, turn it right side out, and insert pillow.

This is our very favorite home made granola recipe.  Obviously ingredients can be substituted for you favorites, have fun with it and be creative!

Honey, Almond & Oats Granola
Taken out of "Lovingly Seasoned Eat's & Treats" cookbook by Jean Smith & Corinne Zeiset

5 cups quick oats                                   
3/4 cup sliced almonds
2 cups Cheerios                                   
3/4 cup honey
1 cup oat bran                                        
8 tbsp. melted butter
1 cup wheat bran

1 cup wheat germ                         

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1/2 cup red raisins                                  

1/2 cup yellow raisins

pinch of salt         

1/2 cup sweetened coconut
6 honey graham crackers, broken into pieces

1. Melt butter in bowl; add honey and mix thoroughly; put all dry ingredients into bowl, except raisins and mix well.
2. Pour butter honey mixture into dry ingredients and blend until evenly coated.
3. Place evenly onto cookie sheets; dry in a 200 degree oven for 60 to 90 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.  Test dryness to your liking.
4. When dried and cooled, stir in the raisins & cranberries; store in airtight container.

Makes about 1 gallon.  Use on yogurt too!

Parsley Potato Casserole
This is a super easy and yummy potato casserole that is sure to please em' all!

4-6 russet potatoes from Garden Gate
3/4 tbsp. chopped parsley from Garden Gate
1/2 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 tablespoon capers
1/3 cup mayo
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

1. In a large pot, bring potatoes and enough water to cover by 2 inches to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and gently boil potatoes until tender when pierced with a sharp knife, about 30 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine parsley, olive oil, lemon juice, and capers. Set aside.
3. Drain potatoes and let cool, about 15 minutes. Using a sharp knife, peel then slice potatoes into ¼-inch-thick rounds.
4. On a large platter, build 3 layers of potatoes, brushing each layer with one-third of mayonnaise and spooning on one-third of parsley vinaigrette. Season with salt and pepper.

Happy Day
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