I keep looking out my window to see if the snow is almost melted yet. I have lots of big plans for my garden and yard this year.They are actually many of the same plans I had last year but never got to because of all of the rain. Let's see- I have boulders to build,a labyrinth to construct,a few outdoor "rooms to furnish with concrete "Faux Bois" furniture that I of course will be creating myself! I also plan on making a bunch of raised beds so I can actuallygrow the veggies I threatened to grow last year,pile a few fieldstone (Pennsylvania) walls, and build a few floating decks for my outdoor rooms. Oh, I forgot about the greenhouse I am going to make out of my falling down shed! Just to make sure I don't make things easy on myself,
I will grow a yard of pretty flowers from the hundred packets of seeds I bought last year and never had a chance to plant.
The thing I forgot to mention, was that I have ZERO budget to get my fantasy yard in order. I have, instead, to rely on good ol' fashioned ingenuity and creativity when it comes to getting what I want.
You see, it all started out fine last spring. I went on craigslist and found a bunch of bricks, my aunt was moving and uncle Bill gave me a palette of bricks that I loaded one at a time into the back of my Honda Ridgeline-much to the dismay of my "don't use the truck for things it is made for cause it will get scratched" husband!
I became a "brick sleuth", taking small loads whenever I could and quickly unloading them before the hubs came home. I even snuck a yard of dirt in the back of my truck to save the delivery charge by carefully lining it with landscape fabric and he was none the wiser!
There are lots of things I would like in my garden... like rocks and boulders! I have "hardscape envy" of anyone that has had the good fortune and budget to adorn their yard with big, heavy, gorgeous boulders! Big ones, small ones, Mexican river rocks- small, medium and large, pea gravel, bluestone, flagstone- I dream of them all. Now when I lived upstate, this stuff was everywhere and you could pretty much drive down the road and come back with a free truckload of whatever you could pick up and put in your truck. But I lived upstate in the 70's when I was a teenager and my idea of great rock came in the musical form with big hair, tight pants and had absolutely nothing at all to do with geology. EEK!
Back to boulder building. JUNE. So I was online drooling over pictures of designer hard scapes when I came across a guy from Australia who creates boulders and slab staircases out of concrete!
This was perfect for me...a girl with limited lifting skills and no bobcat. I sent away for the instructional videos that taught me all about sand mix and pigment powders.
I got a bunch of free concrete rubble that the guy even delivered for free, and also got to listen to my husband tell me that I "was never gonna finish and we would be looking at that pile of broken sidewalk next year." I scoffed at his lack of imagination and vision for the future paradise I would be constructing with my bare hands! HMMPHMPH! " I will show him" I thought.
I then enthusiastically had 5 yards of topsoil delivered on a big pile on the side of the driveway. It was as beautiful as dirt can get- rich, black and crumbly. I couldn't wait to get started!
I actually DID get started, I put in four beds in the back and started creating my "waterfall brick " walkway entrance to the back yard "gardens".
Then came the rain.I looked on the cheery side and said to myself "great-I will see how the water makes it's way thru the yard so I can plan more efficiently". Well, I pretty much spent the entire summer waiting for it to stop raining or dry up enough to do my projects! I couldn't start concrete if it was going to rain, all of my boulders would wash away! JULY.
All of the rain made my pile of topsoil grow and start looking eerily like a huge lawn chia pet.
As it grew more from the plentiful rain, it actually started looking more like an abandoned burial mound. This made me very reluctant to put it into my beds at that point because I really didn't want to do THAT much weeding!! I think my topsoil was probably made out of decomposed weeds because I had become the proud owner of a lush, green weed chia burial mound. Yay. Just what I wanted.
By then my husband was having quite a jolly time reminding me about my broken sidewalk project and the big weed grave in the front yard! He kept on threatening me that he was going to get preen and kill everything before the neighbors started whispering about us, but I really don't want all those chemicals messing with my backyard wildlife. Not to mention, I had bought a hundred packets of seeds with leftover grocery money (shhh, don't tell!), and the preen would make it impossible for anything to grow!
August. Now that the weather had a few stretches of workable dryness, the mosquitos were having a block party and I was the tequila. Not a big fan of encephalitus, I chose to remain inside in the air conditioning and crackle finish my vanity instead.
Before I knew it the summer was over. I finally weeded my front lawn chia pet in time for the fall clean up.
Right now, the blanket of snow keeps my broken concrete project a secret to those who don't know, and my box of seed packets patiently wait for me to Johnny Appleseed them into my beds and so they can take a chance at life.
My rich, black crumbly topsoil peeks it's weedless head innocently out of the melting snow, silently saying "put me in your garden beds"...but I know better- it thinks I will forget and let it chia pet my entire garden this year!
Heck, maybe I can start a new trend- the chia garden!
Three years ago I got the call that you never want to get..."The house is on fire".
Bad news-House was a total loss. Good news- Tobi gets to redecorate COMPLETELY from scratch! We're talkin' "the beams were the only thing left. We lived in a trailer on the front lawn from April till November...the neighbors must have just LOVED that! Although it was very traumatic and stressful, we were really blessed to be able to redo the house from top to bottom! We were only able to do this because we had a wonderful insurance company. Now if it sounds odd that I would call a fire "good fortune" let me channel Lucy Ricardo for a moment and "splain". The fire actually only burned one room- the dining room. All the rest of the house was smoke damage. That was the good part. Smoke damage meant that I didn't lose any of my old photographs, teacups, dishes etc. They were considered a "loss" and we were paid for them but got to keep them! This of course meant that I had many hours of washing to do, but I didn't lose a single piece of jadite! I am a true believer that you should always look for the good fortune in things even if they seem like a disaster. One of my best piece of good fortune was that I was able to move walls a bit and vault the upstairs ceilings- something my husband would never had agreed to do if we had to pay for it! The only very unfortunate part of it all was we lost three dear little munchkins- Midnight the big fat cat, Nikki the vociferous Pomeranian and her puppy Brodie. But now that I have this blog, they will have their little faces out there for all to see!!! So here are some pictures of the house and the updates, and believe me I still have LOTS of projects to do so there will be much more to come!In love and light,Tobi
Our beloved munchkins that passed in the fire. Nikki was my first Pomeranian. She had such a personality! She would loudly protest when things didn't go her way by saying "WoooWoooWoo"! Her puppy Brodie was the one we were going to keep. Brodie would just look at you with such love- a deepness of soul. Midnight was a big fat black long hair cat that I think was a Maine Coon. She would actually be so lazy that instead of bending down to eat, she would pick up a piece at a time with her paw and put it in her mouth!
Greetings! My motto is "Life is too short to save your prettiest stuff for company-USE IT everyday to bring joy and beauty to your life!" my style is pretty eclectic- I mix natural elements like rough sawn aged wood and branches, with vintage crystal and chandeliers. I love anything chippy, shabby and with a story to tell. If I had the choice, I would live in a Hobbit House. My Yard would look like an English fairytale garden, the back yard enchanted with all manner of fae folk. My decorating style is an eclectic mix of natural elements like Jerusalem stone, rough sawn planks and branches, old rusty stuff like farm tools, scales and fireplace iron, mixed with pretty girly stuff like crystal, roses, lusterware and carnival glass. I collect Lefton Pixie Planters, Flow Blue anything, Fenton Hobnail, Old blue Mason Jars and seltzer bottles, Early American Pressed Glass pitchers,Cobalt blue glass, vintage Czech glass crystal jewelry... Dressing up a house is one of my favorite things to do!
Tobi Britton is a Makeup Artist and Mixed media artist known for her whimsical take on everything she creates.
When asked how she became an artist, Tobi says "I kind of did it backwards- most makeup artists start out as artists, I started out as a makeup artist and THEN expanded into my art!" The first 25 years of her career were spent as an Emmy nominated Makeup Artist and owner of The Makeup Shop in NYC where she taught over a thousand fledgling makeup artists the art of makeup. She now splits her time between the makeup world and the magical realm of “The Pink Pixie Forest”- her art business.