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The Chicago Garden Party

Over the weekend, I hosted the The Chicago Garden Party brought to you by The Home Depot Garden Club. The weather was fully cooperating, and we hosted several hundred people throughout the day!

#SpringMadeSimple Home Depot Garden Party

I was there welcoming people and inviting them to participate in the hands-on projects at the party. Meghan Swint of The Tasty Fork was there grilling up carrots, and everyone went nuts for her Farmer’s Market Salad (recipe below). Gardeniere Gina Iliopoulus helped people transfer their choice of oregano, basil, or cilantro into terra cotta pots, and she was also able to help answer gardening questions for people. Even a sweet Home Depot mascot dog showed up with his own customized apron.

#SpringMadeSimple Home Depot Garden Party

Home Depot Dog

The food that day was so good, thanks in large part to Meghan’s recipe for the event. You could grab tomatoes, jalapeno, and basil directly out of a backyard garden to use! Even if you only have a little outdoor space, you could plant something like the Raised Salsa Bed below, and there was a Tower Container Garden at the party too, with room for 8 herbs. The party had plenty of garden-to-table inspiration and ideas.

Farmer's Market Salad, by Meghan Swint for The Home Depot #SpringMadeSimple Garden Party

Raised Salsa Bed

The kids couldn’t be there with me, but I did tell them that I would decorate a plant pot for each of them. Eleanor requested eight flowers (very specific on the number there, kid), and August wanted a zombie on his. I did my best to come through with their requests.

Flowerpot Flowers and a Zombie

I made a third pot too, with a quick diamond and dot pattern, and now we have fresh oregano, basil, and cilantro growing in the kitchen. I thought about planting the herbs outside, but I like the easy access of having them on hand for cooking.

Herbs in the Kitchen Window

The Home Depot holds events throughout the year, all over the country, and the best way to keep up with them is through their Facebook events page. You can also join the Garden Club and get simple tips, resources, and discounts, or follow The Home Depot on Pinterest for home and garden inspiration.

Thank you to The Home Depot for having me, and a big thanks to everyone who came out on Saturday! It was so good to spend some time outdoors, chatting, picking up gardening tips, and getting crafty with you.

For the Fairies. And Zombies.

Eleanor is really into fairies right now. They visit her at night and give her sweet dreams, and they help her grow. All kinds of things. We haven’t seen any in person, but that’s because they’re very shy, and also because they sleep during the day and only come out at night. Brandon bought a toy for E when she got her white belt in karate a few weeks ago, and he left it on top of her dresser as a surprise. Of course, she saw it when she woke up and immediately assumed it was a gift from the fairies, so they got all the credit.

We think they’ve been hanging out in the dollhouse, but we’ve talked about creating a fairy garden for them to live in outside, too. My friend recommended Wannemaker’s for supplies, so we went out there on Sunday.

Wannemaker's Fairy Garden Supplies

We already had plenty of planters to choose from and it’s too cold for outdoor plants yet, so we concentrated on finding the perfect decorations. If the design were up to me, it would be like an open terrarium with a cute house tucked away in one corner. Maybe a little patio too, complete with charming vintage-style furniture. The design was rightfully up to E though, so we have a giant! house, a couple of fairy figures, a bridge and blue glass pebbles (water), plus a beach chair and umbrella. August wasn’t that into it, but he did choose both of the fairies for Eleanor.

Starting on the Fairy Gardens
Adding Fairy Garden Decorations
Eleanor's Fairy Garden

That house took up so much room that we ended up creating two fairy gardens. One is for their home, and the other is a beachy scene in which I planted a pothos that we already had on hand (I’ll either harden it to the outdoors or swap it out for something else in a few weeks). I want variation in texture, with larger plants juxtaposed against tiny ones, and something with small flowers. The kids want dirt patches for their zombie toys, because the beachy scene is now a zombie garden. So, maybe we won’t be adding more plants? They really like everything as it is now, and this is for them after all.

Zombie/Fairy Garden
Zombie Yeti in the Fairy Garden

Eleanor was worried that the fairies might find their new home only to be frightened off by the zombie toys. But we discussed it and they’ll be fine, because zombies are not real. (Fairies are.)

Zombie/Fairy Garden

She goes to check on her fairy gardens each morning, first thing when she wakes up. She still hasn’t seen any, but she told me that she has been singing songs to the fairies in hopes of gaining their trust. Much like the rabbits in our yard that bound away immediately, but that she has leaves carrots for. So hopeful, that girl is.

Black Beauty

I’d hoped to have a painted room to share today, but I underestimated the ability of my right arm to paint and paint and paint. I’ve primed, I’ve put a first coat on, and I’ve done half of the cutting in for the second (and final, I hope) coat of paint, but I still have a few hours of painting ahead of me before it’s done. Such tall ceilings! So many windows and doorways, and a fireplace to cut in! Such strong shoulders I will have! (On the right side, at least.) Luckily my legs are holding up just fine with having gone up and down the ladder all weekend, and I’ve finished all of the up-high work.

Black Benjamin Moore Paint Swatches - Soot, Almost Black, Polo Blue, and Black Beauty #makingitlovely

I liked the range of blacks that Benjamin Moore offered, so I stuck with them for my samples. I tried Soot (so close), Almost Black (too light), Polo Blue (pretty and nuanced, but too blue), and finally, Black Beauty (the winner!). It’s the warm black I had been looking for, and it makes the wood trim in the room look amazing. The three huge windows are South-facing, and the room is flooded with light, so it can take a dark, dramatic color. I can’t wait to see it with the furniture back in place!

Now, off to paint.

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