Garden Updates and Current Projects

It’s been a while since I posted an update with our garden remodel, so here is our winter update. πŸ™‚ We are approaching the end of our list of garden projects, both in the front and the back. It has been such a massive undertaking, and we have spent all of our free time in the past year working on these projects!

I’ll start with the front yard.

We recently decided to hire some guys to build us a new barn shed that we could use for storage and as a workshop area. We were in the middle of a bunch of projects in my studio, so it seemed like a great idea to hire out some of the work for once. Unfortunately, the guys we hired did an awful job and did not finish in one day as promised, so finishing the shed is another thing that got added to my husband’s to-do list. 😦

Our grapevines finally lost all of their leaves recently, so I need to do my yearly pruning on those. I love using the grapevine as a photo backdrop, so I can’t wait until those leaves start to fill in again!
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We have been planning to add a dry riverbed going through the sloping areas of our front yard, including this area. We just had 12 tons of rocks and boulders delivered last night. We are excited but quite overwhelmed. πŸ™‚
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A while back, we received our official certifications as a wildlife habitat from the National Wildlife Federation! That was very exciting.Β  aliciainwonderlandblog
We added fencing around the lower part of our front yard and a gate which keeps our son contained when I am gardening in our front yard. We had some delays with finishing the fence in the upper part though since the posts went right along the line of some large tree roots. Finishing up that part and adding the dry riverbed up here too are on our list of things to do.aliciainwonderlandblog
My succulent fountain is filling in so nicely! Not bad for a free find!
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Most of my perennial flowers are currently pruned or dormant for winter, but I was very excited yesterday when I saw the first few blooms on my heartleaf geraniums. πŸ™‚ These are one of my favorites!
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Now for the back yard! Our son’s play area and his garden…not too much has changed here lately. I love that this area is adjacent to both our living room and my studio. That way, he can play outside and I can keep an eye on him while I work on other things.
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This flowers in the lower area of this planter got frost damaged at the beginning of last month, so those will have to be replaced soon. My roses are all currently pruned for winter and I can’t wait until they start blooming again!
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My husband initially thought I was coming up with crazy ideas when I told him I wanted to paint the accent pieces on our pergola the accent color that I used on the brick retaining walls. I love the pop of color on the pergola!
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My rambling roses that are I am training to climb up the pergola are unfortunately deciduous, but they are starting to get some new leaves again!aliciainwonderlandblog
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I special ordered most of my climbing roses last year, and for this gazebo, one of the roses that I was sent was an incorrect variety. I received a white rose instead of a pink rose. I was not happy about it and felt a bit nuts, like the red queen in Alice in Wonderland. I suppose that would make me the pink queen. πŸ™‚ Anyway, there was a delay with my reorder, and now the one leg on that gazebo is not as covered as the other two. I’m going to give that particular rose some extra TLC so hopefully it will catch up quickly this year. πŸ™‚aliciainwonderlandblog
The roses on our other gazebo are doing great!
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I did a couple of photoshoots in this gazebo over the weekend for clients, and I am so excited about using it going forward. They came out pretty amazing. πŸ™‚
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Here’s a sneak peek of one of the photoshoots I did in this gazebo so far!
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I also used this bridge in a session yesterday, even though this area is not actually finished yet (I did a few creative things to disguise that fact). We are going to use the rocks we ordered to build a dry pond and waterfall around this bridge. I can’t wait until that part is finished…then I plan to do “fishing” mini sessions! πŸ™‚
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My nasturtiums are back and quite full already! Last year they almost overwhelmed the garden!
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My husband finished our massive cage around the vegetable beds! Now we can have our veggies without fear of them being dug up by raccoons and/or possums or whoever it was that was causing all of the destruction.
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We hope to have the rest of these projects finished soon, so I will post more updates in about a month or so!

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Backyard Garden Tour – Furniture

These chairs were old Craigslist finds that we had from our old house. I painted them a while back, and we recently got new cushions for them. They are fun and colorful in E’s garden area. πŸ™‚

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These chairs float back and forth between our firepit area and the patio table. I found them for the firepit, but they happened to come with a table, which we then decided we wanted to use anyway.
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Once we found this amazing patio umbrella (Pier 1), we really started enjoying using this patio table. We can have some snacks at the table while E runs around in his garden. πŸ™‚
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Originally, we wanted to find Victorian style circular tree benches that would go around each of the dwarf fruit trees. We couldn’t find any anywhere, even after contacting companies in England. We looked into having some made, but did not like the idea of spending somewhere in the range of $10,000 or more for a few benches. So instead, we found three benches like this at the Rose Bowl Flea Market (for a total of $110!), and circled vintage chairs around the other two trees. I like the end result much better than our original plan.
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We are really into hammocks. We have a few different hammock chairs around the pergola now, and we also put up hooks for our big hammock as well. We have a stand for the big hammock in our downstairs yard, but that area is not as nice as the upstairs now so we are using it more up here. We have had some great weekend afternoons with all of us cuddled up in the big hammock.
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I also have my little reading area set up, so I can read while E runs back and forth on the fake grass area. He loves to run laps around the little area. πŸ™‚
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We also got a chimnea that we move around the garden at night since our firepit table isn’t very portable. We initially tried a propane powered one but it was absolutely awful (didn’t produce any noticeable heat) and we much prefer this wood burning one.
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Backyard Garden Tour – Garden Accents

One of my favorite things about our backyard garden is all of the whimsical accents we added. We did a lot of shopping, and I collected some items that I just love peeking out in various areas of the garden. Our son E also loves to chatter at all of the various little garden animals tucked away in all the various corners. πŸ™‚ Most of the items shown below I found at Home Goods, Big Lots, 99 Cent Store, the Rose Bowl Flea Market, Amazon.com, Craigslist, and my favorite antique/vintage store, Magnolia and Willow in Long Beach, CA. The items that I ordered on Amazon can be found here.

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I love this bird bath that we found at Big Lots!
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I have two thermometers set up, one in the shade and one in the sun. I like to keep an area on the temperature in both areas so I can make sure to move our son elsewhere if it gets too hot out.
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This is the beautiful hummingbird feeder that started this fiasco. I am going to put it back up, just without any liquid. πŸ™‚aliciainwonderlandblog28

Pretty bird feeder! The birds haven’t really been using it since they have tons of things to eat from all of the plants around the garden, but maybe one day they will go in there for a snack. πŸ™‚
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I absolutely love having a gazing ball, and was happy to find an unbreakable one on Amazon. I had originally purchased a glass one and realized that was a bad idea to have out on a display stand once our son started walking.
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Isn’t that the cutest little birdhouse? Another great Amazon find!
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This little tree seems like it is supposed to be a dwarf apple tree, but never fruits since it is shaded by the huge fig tree (poor planting location decision by previous owners). To give the poor little tree a little more pizazz, I started turning it into a windchime tree. Some we got new and some were vintage finds. All three of us absolutely love the sound of all of the windchimes! We don’t collect many things, but we are going to start collecting windchimes. πŸ™‚aliciainwonderlandblog35 aliciainwonderlandblog36 aliciainwonderlandblog37 aliciainwonderlandblog38 aliciainwonderlandblog39 aliciainwonderlandblog40 aliciainwonderlandblog41 aliciainwonderlandblog42 aliciainwonderlandblog43 aliciainwonderlandblog44 aliciainwonderlandblog45

I have nicknamed our backyard Alicia’s Wonderland Garden (the hashtag I use on Instagram is #aliciaswonderlandgarden). You can’t have a Wonderland garden without a white rabbit, right? I am going to be making lots of re-purposed teacup accents soon to continue the theme, and eventually we will put up our Wonderland themed signs from our wedding. πŸ™‚
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Garden Reveal!

Our backyard remodel has been a major undertaking. Way bigger than we would have anticipated. It has taken so much longer than we had planned, and there are still a lot of last details left to finish. When I made over our front yard two years ago, everything went a lot faster since I didn’t have a child to take care of, and I didn’t have my mobility and pain problems. Those two new factors have made this project infinitely slower. I know a lot of people have been curious to see a reveal, so I wanted to post pictures of the progress so far. πŸ™‚

I hated the ugly retaining walls that go throughout our backyard, and I have been trying to convince my husband to let me paint them some bright colors ever since we moved in. Finally, I looked for some examples on Pinterest that were close enough to what I had in mind that helped me convince him that I should paint. E’s garden is so much more fun now that it is colorful. πŸ™‚ I have a really exciting project in mind for the planter above his garden…I can’t wait to get that installed too!

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I haven’t finished painting this area, but that will come soon enough. The table was an antique store find and actually came with four different chairs, but I wanted the set because I thought the chairs would be perfect around our firepit. The table was cute too, and got paired with four chairs that were a great thrift store find at $2 each!

The pink flowers in the top planter are one of the few that I did not plant (along with the roses that they are mixed in with). They were there from a previous owner, and are amazing. They are super low-maintenance, need almost no water, and reseed themselves each year. They are called a bunch of different names, but you can find them at Home Depot under the name Red Valerian. In the bottom row, I have our dwarf almond tree and kumquat tree, which I planted when we moved in. In between those, I planted more low water plants, lots of geraniums and Santa Barbara daisies.

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This is the pergola that my husband built at our old house! We actually had our small wedding reception under this pergola in our old backyard, so it is extra special. (We had two wedding days…the ceremony day that was moved up when we found out my grandma was dying and our originally planned date). The diagonal pieces needed to be replaced after the move, so my dad made these new ones for us! They still need to be painted but look great.

The pergola used to be our patio dining area at our old house, but now it is a play zone. πŸ™‚ Underneath the pergola is the artificial grass my husband installed (more info on that in a later post), and a nice play area for the little guy and his friends. Things are a little more put away than usual today since we are expecting rain, but this is where his bounce house/ball pit normally sits, and his trains are put away from the train table. We actually found the train table for free on Craigslist, but it needed some legs, which was an easy fix for my husband! It is one of E’s favorite things. πŸ™‚ I will post pictures of his bounce house/ball pit when I blog about his birthday party, but in the meantime, you can check it out here.
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This is the part of the garden where all the work really took place…I am going to post some wide angle overview pictures here and then go into more detail about all of the various projects and areas within the next few days!

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Our to-do list for this project still includes installing new raised beds for veggies, completing the irrigation system (I am hand watering for now…not too bad since most of the plants have low water requirements), installing the shade fabric system that will be drawn or retracted over the entire garden, lighting, sound system, waterfall, and adding more decomposed granite as walkway.

We originally were going to put in pavers, stepping stones, bricks or gravel, but then I realized that the decomposed granite that we put down as an underlayer is much easier for me to walk on! I like how it looks and it is super cheap (you can often even find it for free!), and we just need a bit more to thicken it up.

Lots more details coming in the next few days!

Our Living/Dining Room Reveal!

This post has been put off for a long time now. I kept feeling like our living/dining room was never “finished”. There were a lot of details that we had put off, and I didn’t want to photograph the room until they were completed. Some were silly things, like I felt there weren’t enough plants in the room. Ironically, when I took these pictures, a lot of the hanging plants were actually draining off in the bathroom anyway after being watered. πŸ™‚ Anyway, without further delay, here is the heart of our home, our living room. This is where we spend most of our time.

The big cozy couch pillows are everyone’s favorite thing in the room. I made the pillow covers out of the pashminas that I used for a while as our bedroom curtains at our old house! πŸ™‚ There are lots of tiny plants throughout the room that I recently propagated from cuttings, which I am really excited about (full post about that coming soon). Our house is finally starting to feel like our home now that this room is coming together. πŸ™‚ I’m not thrilled that there are a few photo props stashed around since I am running out of storage in my office and studio, but other than that, I really love this room!

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Bathroom Makeover Reveal!

When we originally bought this house, one of the first things we planned to do was gut the master bathroom since it was so incredibly ugly. We hated the handicapped bars in the walk-in shower. I wanted to get rid of the shower and install an antique clawfoot tub. We couldn’t stand the forest green tiles with the pale green walls. The sink and countertop were made out of some awful, really porous material that kept every stain (that really did not work well when coloring my hair). The sink also had a leak, and the vanity was starting to rot away. We also didn’t love the glass block windows since they looked a bit outdated, but I did appreciate how much light they let in. It seemed like we would definitely be tearing everything out and starting from scratch.

However, our first major project had to be the kitchen since that was barely even usable when we moved in. Then once I got put on pregnancy bed rest, we decided the bathroom project would have to wait since I couldn’t walk all the way to the guest bath. Before you know it, I was sitting in my hospital bed after E was born, reviewingΒ  a handicapped products catalog with an occupational therapist. Suddenly, I felt like our hideous handicapped bathroom was actually a blessing in disguise from God, saving us a major expense and project. I decided that I would make some lemonade out of a huge lemon, and see how I could improve the bathroom without having to do a complete remodel. Now that I have to use a shower chair, I can’t use our tiny guest shower in a practical manner since it is a bit too tight.

The first thing my husband did was remove the vanity and sink. He used leftover bits of bamboo counter from the kitchen to make the new bathroom counter. He cut a hole in the wood for the sink, following the instructions from the sink manufacturer. Unfortunately, we then realized that the instructions they gave were for a hole that was too big, and made the sink sit way down inside the counter. To counter this problem, I came up with the idea of surrounding the bowl with a mosaic. It took me a long time to get that mosaic perfect since the pieces I used were all of varying thickness, but we absolutely love the end result!

Next he replaced the medicine cabinet to something with a bit more style. He bought lights but soon realized that he would need to replace a bigΒ  chunk of wall to switch out the lights since the previous owners left a mess behind the light fixtures. The lights are going on the “good enough for now” list. πŸ™‚

After that, I started working on finding a way to make the existing colors and features in the room feel cozy and intentional, and less outdated. I painted the same dark tan that is in our bedroom, which I love against the forest green and brown flooring! I re-stained the grout to freshen everything up. I brought in tons of amazing exotic plants, a bohemian dream of a shower curtain that I found at World Market, and some other little finishing touches that really seem to complete the room. One of my favorite things is the plant hanger next to the window. Suddenly, with the plants there, the glass block window doesn’t bother us anymore! The best part was that the plant hanger display that I put together for the window was all with bits and pieces of things that I found around the house.

I absolutely love the end result, and am perfectly fine if we never get around to a “full remodel”. My most hated room of the house has quickly turned into my little bohemian spa retreat and I am so happy. πŸ™‚

Here is the before picture:

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And the after photos….The flooring isn’t really shown in the new pictures since it is still the same (and that is the one thing that I still do not love). Eventually we will get around to replacing that once we decide if we are going to reconfigure the bedroom layout and redo all of the flooring at that point.

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What I Wore: Vintage Boho Sunday – Mommy & Baby Style

I usually am not a big fan of button-down shirts since they usually end up looking boxy on my frame. I found this button down shirt that I absolutely love. It is a mix of cotton woven fabric with ribbed knit cotton inserts on the sides and parts of the sleeves, which gives it a much better shape, and prevents me from feeling like I am drowning in the shirt. The buttons work for breastfeeding on the go, and the lightweight fabric is great for a warm day. The vintage skirt is one of my favorites, and I was happy to find something that would look cute paired with it, as well as still be breastfeeding-friendly.

Top: JCP
Skirt: vintage
Scarf: H&M
Sunglasses: Coach
Belt: came with a dress, but not sure which one…maybe from H&M?
Boots: Boot Barn
Purse: Marc by Marc Jacobs

E is wearing a vintage seersucker romper, a hat from H&M, a Burt’s Bees Baby organic cotton tee, and Ecoland organic cotton socks. His Gdiaper cloth diaper is also peeking out in the pictures. πŸ™‚

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And a pic of my handsome husband today! Such a great dad. πŸ™‚

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