How to make old mulch look new again

Hello friends! I hope you’re getting in the mood for fall. It’s been tough here in Pennsylvania, as we have seen record rain fall that just.won’t.quit. Of course, right now our thoughts and prayers are with those affected by Hurricane Florence!

Today I thought I’d share what’s going on outdoors at our place. Honestly, we’ve had so much going on ALL OVER THE PLACE, it’s been tough to chronicle it here on the blog. We have been busy with the most recent flip house and other projects … and I promise, there are some epic before-and-after photos around the corner. 😉

During a very brief break in the rain this week, I was able to plant a few new trees in our front yard and also add some mulch from our backyard mulch pit.

The problem with old mulch is that it looks pretty raggedy, even though it’s still good to use.

I was recently introduced to a new product through the Rust-Oleum® Creator’s Studio. It’s called Rust-Oleum Renovator Mulch Color Refresh, and it’s supposed to make your old mulch look new again! I volunteered to try out the product because … well … we’ve got some raggedy-looking mulch up in here.

You don’t mix this stuff with anything. You just dump it into a pump sprayer and apply it to your old mulch.

Here’s what my old mulch looked like with a coat of the Color Refresh in Brown.

Here’s a closeup of what the mulch looked like before … and after applying the product.

Pretty cool! I only used about a fifth of the 1-gallon jug to do my three trees. The jug says a gallon will cover up to 350 square feet. Bonus: I love the fact that it washes off your hands with soap and water … an important feature for this messy DIYer. 😉

The Mulch Color Refresh gave a great pick-me-up to my front yard. Now I just need to plant some grass in those bare spots …

Have you done any landscaping yet this season? I’ve heard the best times of year to plant trees and shrubs are during months that have an “r” in them.

I’ve personally had much better success with tree and shrub survival when I plant in the fall. Happy fall planting!

2018 Word of the Year

Hello friends! I hope you are excited for an adventurous 2018. I certainly am.

I always like to start each new year by designating a Word of the Year. It helps clarify my goals and intentions and provides a good foundation for my actions in the coming year.

Over the holidays, I like to take time to ruminate about what I want the next year to look like and what I’d like to accomplish.

I ask myself such questions as:

  1. What am I most proud of from 2017?
  2. What disappointments did I experience?
  3. What personal obstacle do I need to overcome or make significant progress on to reach next year’s goals?

After much introspection, this usually allows a theme or word to surface that will serve as a guide – a compass of sorts – over the next year.

In 2018, my word is:

Prepare.

As a creative, focus-challenged adrenaline junkie, I’ve always struggled with creating time to do careful preparation for events, projects, etc. I have often overlooked or procrastinated on the planning phase, opting instead for the thrill of reaction-based, last-minute scrambling. I can’t really explain why I do this. I think I must take pride in coming up with just-in-time solutions that work … that whole “I work best under pressure” claim.

But as I gain wisdom with age, I’m finding that careful preparation will almost always offer the most successful, professional and prosperous results in the end. And it certainly will reduce stress and anxiety.

So this year my word is designed to help me focus on the necessity of careful, proper planning in every area of my life.

Can I plan or anticipate every single thing that will happen this year? Of course not.

Do I need to allow room in my schedule for flexibility, fun and adaptation? Certainly!

This is simply me recognizing that being prepared whenever possible will help create the margin I need to have more flexibility and fun in my life.

Some of you “born organized” people have long understood the need for good preparation and planning. Bear with me on this … this has been a long journey for me. But I’m making good progress and am excited for what this discipline will make possible for me in my personal and professional life.

So now I’ll turn it over to you.

What is your 2018 Word of the Year?

Last-minute DIY gift idea

Hello friends! I hope you are enjoying this wonderful Christmas season. We are, for sure, although I wish (as usual) I was a little more prepared.

Today I wanted to share with you a quick, easy and inexpensive holiday gift you still have time to whip up for the folks on your list. 😉

You can knock about 10 of these out in less than 3 hours.

Step 1: Order 1-hour prints from Walmart.com.

You can pick up a copy of the free printable I used here. I also like to browse Pinterest for “Free holiday printables.” I chose 4×5.3″ prints at about 6 cents apiece. I rounded the edges of each print with scissors.

Step 2: Find a scrap board to use for the backs of the signs.

I chose these 2×6″ scrap boards from my garden shed.

Step 3: Cut 2×6″ boards to length on a miter saw.

This size is perfect because you don’t have to rip off any of the width. You only need to cut the pieces length-wise.

I cut my pieces about 6.5 inches long. (My prints were 4×5.3″ – or true digital size.) After cutting, I cleaned off the boards really well to prepare them for stain.

Step 4: Stain the pieces.

I chose Varathane® Wood Stain in Briarsmoke.* I like to brush stain on and allow it to soak in for a good two minutes before wiping any excess off. It creates a more uniform, rich color.

Step 5: Sand the edges of each piece.

This will give the blocks a weathered appearance and smooth any rough edges. I used an orbital sander for this step to help speed things along.

Step 6: Adhere the prints to the wood blocks using Mod Podge® matte water-based sealer. 

This part always makes me nervous, but the sealer dries clear. I promise. 😉

Done! The wood plaques stand up nicely on their own, making them cute decorations for window sills and tabletops at Christmastime.

Have you DIYed any gifts this holiday season? I’d love for you to share your project(s) in a comment.

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