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Jul 11

Have You Hugged Your Flowers Today?




 After hugging your flowers ;-) put them in a vase lined with lemon slices.  Pretty, huh?

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May 02

Here’s a peek of what’s going on in my garden…inside & out- Wordless Wednesday

Stunning colors on these tulips.


My garden instantly comes alive when it's time to add a hummingbird feeder. I love these little guys.


I made these planters for carrots and other veggies that can grow in small containers. All you need is a 5 gallon bucket, drill some holes for drainage, wrap in burlap potato sacks and fill with planting mix.


I was so happy these daffodils didn't get obliterated by the recent storms and freezing temperatures.


We are stll getting a little frost at night so I have these Black Cherry Tomato seedlings growing indoors. Patience, patience.


Rattlesnake Beans are also sprouting indoors. I can't wait to see these grow in my garden!


Don't throw away those cut-off stumps from your head of lettuce. Stick the stumps in some water until roots start to form and then plant it in the garden like I works!

Happy planting everyone!


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Apr 10

Berry Infused Vodka


Hello everyone!  Today’s contribution is brought to you by Stevie Rose of Garden Therapy.  Thanks Stevie!  Not only is Stevie an inspiration to those in the DIY world, she an inspiration to me personally.  With so much creativity it is impossible to stay away Stevie’s blog, Facebook page, Pinterest account, Etsy store and I love tweeting with Stevie on Twitter. From posts on gardening, natural skincare, canning, preserving, down to  free printable labels for your jammy creations, Stevie’s enthusiasm is guaranteed to inspire!

Berry Infused Vodka

If you grow a lot of your own produce, it’s that time of year where we are getting down to the end of the food stores.  While I do love having frozen berries around all winter, they start to taste much less delicious after about 6 months so if there are any left by now, I start using them creatively.  I have my fair share of jam so I thought the best way to use up the remaining berries was to flavour vodka.

To infuse vodka, macerate 3-4 cups of berries per 40oz bottle of vodka.  You don’t need fancy expensive vodka, just basic brands are fine as you’ll add the complex flavour with the berries.  You can also add a few strips of lemon rind, being careful to ensure there is no pith.  A vanilla bean would also go wonderfully with the berries.

Pour vodka over berries in a mason jar, screw on a lid and leave in a cool dark place for 3 days to a week.  Strain off liquid and use the berries in a boozy adults-only crumble or muffin recipe.  Store the infused vodka in the freezer so it’s ice cold when you are ready to make cocktails.

Serve berry-infused vodka as a martini or with soda and some simple syrup.  Garnish with lemon, ginger, or mint for a variety of interesting cocktails.


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Mar 09

When Life Gives You Lemons- Preserve Them!


Lemons make me happy.  Having a friend that supplies me with bags and boxes of lemons makes me ecstatic!  One day I will have a lemon tree in my life, but until then I will use any and all lemons that come my way.

What is so fun and exciting about lemons?  Personally, what I love most about lemons is that they have so many uses other than culinary.  Lemons aren’t just for drinks and cocktails, they also have several health benefits as well.  According to lemon juice can help those with colds and the flu, those with restless leg syndrome, and can even help those that are stressed out or have warts!  Lemon juice is also a great natural disinfectant and non-toxic cleaner.  I recently started making my own house cleaning products and lemons are an absolute gem, especially, when it comes to cleaning a wooden cutting board.  Lemon juice is also fantastic in homemade beauty treatments and can add a wonderful scent to candles and air fresheners.  Lemons also make a simple and beautiful centerpiece and are lovely when used in place of flowers.  I could go on and on and on about my love for lemons, but today I want to share with you something that I’ve never done before with lemons and that is- preserving them. Truthfully, I don’t know what I’m going to with them after they are preserved, so FYI, I’m open to suggestions!

After researching several different recipes I found the easiest and fastest way to preserve lemons isn’t by following a recipe at all.  Thanks to the Food Gal, Carolyn Jung’s, instructions all you have to do is follow a few steps and in a matter of minutes you’ll have jars of lemons in a salty brine that will be ready to use in recipes in 3 to 6 weeks.  Please check out her article here , it’s a fun read and I love her photos! For delicious wine and food filled tweets be sure to follow the Food Gal on Twitter as well @CarolynJung. 

So, here is what you need:

  • Organic lemons, washed and dried.
  • Kosher salt
  • Sterilized glass jars with lid (Food Gal suggests sterilizing in the dishwasher)

This is what you do:

  • Cut lemon in quarters from the top without cutting through to the bottom (see photo below) I wasn’t able to do this because my lemons were big and my jars were small.
  • Stuff the cavity of the lemon with Kosher salt. 
  • Add a little Kosher salt to the bottom of the jar and then start layering as many of the salted lemons as you can into the jar.
  • Cap jar and leave on your kitchen counter for up to three weeks, shaking jar daily to distribute the brine.
  • After 3 weeks, refrigerate.  Your preserved lemons will last up to a year if they remained covered in the salty brine.

This is the proper way for cutting lemon before stuffing them in the jars.  Photo is used with permission from Stevie Rose at  Stevie also has an excellent post on preserving lemons found here. Do yourself a favor and check out this refreshing and inpspiring blog for the latest gardening tips, weekend crafts projects, recipes and tutorials on making homemade bath and body products.  Garden Therapy can also be found on Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook and also has a great line of gorgeous botanical pillows on EtsyThanks for letting me use your photo Stevie!

Lemons, salt, jars

That’s how easy it is!  After about a week I added some more lemon juice to my brining lemons because I was concerned about them not being totally immersed in liquid.  I didn’t use Meyer lemons so maybe they didn’t exude as much juice as was expected.  At 3 weeks I transferred the jars of preserved lemons to the refrigerator.  In a few more weeks I plan on cooking up a Moroccan feast featuring my new found love…the preserved lemon.  Have you cooked or prepared recipes calling for preserved lemons?  What is your favorite dish to prepare?  I’d love to hear your suggestions so please leave a comment here, or send me a message on Twitter or my Facebook page.

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Feb 08

Terrarium Fever!




Hello everyone! 

I can officially say that I’ve caught terrarium fever thanks to my fellow gardening friend, Jayme Jenkins.  Jayme is the owner of a brilliant online boutique called aHa! Modern Living that features standout, modern and earth-friendly home and garden accessories.  aHa! is Jayme’s dream business that was founded in November of 2008 and since then she has grown her small biz by specifically seeking out products that appeal to the gardener, foodie, entertainer and bird lover.  If you are looking for something that’s a little different, unique and stylish, then aHa Modern Living will be a fun shopping experience for you!

One of the products that aHa! carries is called the Roost Recycled Wall Glass Terrarium that is 7 1/2″ wide x 10″ high x 4 3/4″ deep, that literally made me squeal when I saw it in person.  What I love most about this bubble terrarium is it’s rubbable belly-like shape and its hand blown look and texture.  Since each vessel is blown without a mold and made with recycled glass,  it is typical for the terrarium to have “irregularities such as bubbles, dimples, flow and grit marks and rippling”, which adds to its unique appearance.  There’s also an adorable smaller version available that is 6 3/4″ wide x 8″ high x 4 1/2″ deep that looks too cute words.    

 If you are new to terrarium making, like me, or love the look of these enclosed indoor gardens and don’t know where to start, all you have to do is follow these steps that Jayme Jenkins has laid out for us:

10 Steps to Plant in Your Roost Recycled Glass Hanging Terrarium


  1. To begin building your terrarium, place a layer of pea gravel or aquarium rocks at its base. This is necessary for proper drainage.
  2. Next, layer a 1/2 inch layer of horticultural charcoal, which will help to keep your soil from developing a stinky smell.
  3. On top of the charcoal, add 1/2 inch to 2 inches of relatively dry soil. You can find potting soil that is specifically made for terrariums, or just use any good quality organic potting soil mixed with one part coarse builders sand and one part humus. The soil should be dry enough that it should not stick to the sides of the terrarium.
  4. Use your Terrarium Hand Tool Set to spread out your soil and create a hole in which you will place your plant.
  5. Transplant your selected plant(s) into your hanging terrarium.
  6. If you wish to include items from the outdoors such as rocks, shells, or driftwood, make sure to first rinse them with clean hot water. You don’t want to introduce any diseases or critters into your terrarium.
  7. Hang your terrarium in a spot where it will receive sunlight, but NOT full or direct sun. Try to place it no further than 10 feet away from a window or skylight.
  8. A terrarium is pretty much a set-it-and-forget it kind of thing. You don’t need to mess with them much. To water your soil plants, simply give them a misting with a spray bottle about once a week.
  9. Steps 1-4 involve soil and therefore apply to plants that are not air plants. Air plants need no soil- only sunlight and water.
  10. For air plants, it is best to give them a good soaking two times a week. When your plant needs to be watered, its leaves will feel soft and weak. When it has been watered sufficiently, its leaves will feel hard and strong. To water air plants, it is best to remove them from your terrarium and give them a dunk in a sink full of water. If you can’t remove the plant, just give it a good soak with a watering can inside the terrarium. Your plant should be dry within 4 hours after watering {be careful not to leave it in a swampy condition}.

Please note:  aHa! Modern Living provided a complimentary Roost Terrarium for me to review. The content of this review is entirely of  my own, and is not, in any way, influenced by aHa! Modern Living.  I love this terrarium and in my opinion think that it is the perfect gift for any gardener!  Thanks Jayme! For more information on their products they can be found at , on Facebook on Twitter. Happy Gardening!

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Dec 07

A Succulent Pinterest Wednesday


UPDATE:: After writing this post I found out that aHa! Modern Living has a giveaway going on for  a Roost Recycled Glass Wall Terrarium with Timber Press’s Terrarium Craft book by Amy Bryant Aiello and Kate Bryant.  Go ahead and enter now!  (after you check out my Pinterest Wednesday, of course ;-) )

It’s a succulent Pinterest Wednesday at Dirt & Martinis today!

As we know, succulents are very popular and fashionable in indoor and outdoor gardening these days.  Here are some of my favorite images that I’m very excited to share with you today.  I’m absolutey smitten with what you can do with these fascinating plants and am inspired to add some of these ideas to my home…

The above miniature garden tricycle would be so cute to add to any miniature/fairy garden.  Isn’t it darling?!

Pinned image found here.  Website for this image is from Two Green Thumbs Miniature Garden Center shop found here.  

What’s not to love about these toy planters!? 

Pinned image found here.  Website for image found at More Design Please

I love Fern Richardson’s flour sifter planter!  So cute.

Pinned image found here. Website and tuturial for image found at 


The above bubble terrariums are stunning aren’t they?  Sleek, modern and simple.  I adore these lovelies.

Pinned image found here. Website for image found at

So, are you on Pinterest yet? You can follow my Pinterest boards here or let me know via Twitter, Facebook or leave a comment on this post… Happy Pinning!



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Nov 30

Pinterest Wednesday: Give Your Paperwhites Some Vodka!



Do your paperwhites get floppy when forcing them indoors?  Well, next time you’re pouring yourself some vodka, why don’t share a little with your bulbs!

Pinned Image found here.

Susan Morrison’s article and instructions on how to keep your paperwhites  nice and erect with vodka found here.

Happy Pinterest Wednesday!


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Nov 16

Pinterest Wednesday!

Image source

Have you experienced the joys of spending a teenie weenie, itsy bitsy amount of time here and there on Pinterest?  (Did I just hear a chuckle?)  I’m a newbie Pinterest enthusiast/addict and I had no idea how enjoyable “pinning” can be!  Sure, Pinterest can be a time sucker, but a time sucker in a good way.  What is Pinterest you may ask?

Pinterest is a Virtual Pinboard.

Pinterest lets you organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. People use pinboards to plan their weddings, decorate their homes, and organize their favorite recipes.

Best of all, you can browse pinboards created by other people. Browsing pinboards is a fun way to discover new things and get inspiration from people who share your interests. To get started, request an invite.

Instead of being a time waster I view Pinterest as great place to learn and organize.  One of my favorite “pinning” buddies, Theresa Loe, honors her Pinterest addiction with a weekly Pinterest Wednesday post so I’ve decided join in the fun because Pinterest is a GREAT place for gardeners!  Theresa Loe is the co-Executive producer and canning expert on Growing A Greener World TV and she blogs about Living Homegrown®, local and fresh-from-the-garden.  You can follow Theresa’s  boards on Pinterest HERE and check her latest Pinterest Wednesday find HERE.

My Pinterest Wednesday find is one that can be made with next to no money and will add an extra special touch to my garden shed. I think it’s so cute…a pine cone rain chain.

Pine Cone Rain Chain

 This image was found on Pinterest here thanks to The Burbs and the Bees.  Original link can be found here.  


Oh yeah, here’s my Pinterest page..



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Nov 15

My First Giveaway: An Ulster Vintage Cocktail Recipes Towel!

Congrats to Bren @BG_Garden for being the winner of my first giveaway!  Runner up prize went to @jchapstk!  Thanks to all that entered! 
***UPDATE*** David Moffett, owner of , thought this giveaway “is an awesome idea, and very generous”, so much so that he decided to join this virtual “garden party” by throwing in some seeds to the runner up!  You can learn more about Dollar Seed by following them on Twitter @dollarseed  and “liking” them on Facebook.  Thanks for adding to the fun David!!! 
On a recent thrifting excursion I came across two vintage, all pure linen, “Cocktail Recipes” towels made by Ulster.  After doing some research on the Ulster company I learned that the towels I purchased were most likely from the 1960′s and similar to the towel sold here on Etsy.  According to The Ulster Linen Company’s website and Facebook page  I’ve discovered that they are the premier wholesaler of fine European linens since 1933! Both towels are in excellent condition and in my opinion have never been used.
Being a lover of graphics, fonts and, ahem, cocktails I knew immediately that one of these towels was going to end up in my kitchen.  What is going to happen with the second one?  Well, hopefully it’s going to end up in YOUR kitchen.  So, won’t you join me in my first giveaway?  Let’s have some fun! 

If you’d like a “Cocktail Recipes” Ulster vintage towel, here’s the how you enter:

First, leave a comment on this post saying you want to enter.

After making a comment on this post and if you’d like additional entries, do the following:

1.   ”Like” my Facebook Page  If you have done this previously let me know here or on my Facebook page and then you’ ll qualify for an additional entry.

2.  Share the link to this contest by posting it on your Facebook page and you’ll qualify for an additional entry.

3.  Follow me on Twitter @dirtandmartinis and tweet “@dirtandmartinis is having a vintage “Cocktail Recipes” towel giveaway ” and this will qualify you for one additional entry PER tweet.

4.  You must be a resident of the USA or Canada and all entries will be drawn at random at 7pm PST Monday November 21st, 2011. (Yes, right after #gardenchat on Twitter)

Drink up my friends!

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Nov 10

Cold Weather Bird Food Recipes and the Woodpecker


The red-shafted flicker woodpecker in my garden.

Now that the temperatures are starting to drop and a lot of the work has come to a hault in my garden, I’ve turned my attention to attracting feathered critters into my landscape with the use of bird feeders.  Birdwatching may sound mundane and boring but once you start attracting birds into your cold weather garden it is far from dull and is often called a free ticket to the theater of nature.  Once you add fresh water and some bird seed you are guaranteed to always have a show. 

With the cooling temperatures birds need an extra addition of fat to help them survive so adding suet cakes is an important accompaniment to their fall and winter diet.  I am  so happy to have the ilusive red-shafted flicker woodpecker (shown above) frequently visit my garden since I’ve set out out the fatty suet cakes and bird seed.   If you’re not one to use animal products (most suet is beef kidney fat) you can easily make a big batch of vegetarian suet cakes and store them in the freezer for future use.  I found an easy recipe at

Wintertime Vegan “Suet”
The birds won’t miss the meat and your kitties will love to watch the action!

2 cups peanut butter
2 cups vegetable shortening
2 cups flour
6 cups cornmeal

Melt peanut butter and shortening in a large pot.
Stir in flour and cornmeal.
Turn dough onto a waxed paper lined 13×9″ pan.
Cut into rectangles for use in a suet feeder.
Suet can be stored in a freezer.

Here’s another easy project that I’m going to try soon.  All you need is a toilet paper roll, some peanut butter and bird seed!  Easy right? I’m sure the birds will love it.

View tutorial here>>>

Have you heard of peanut butter bird seed balls?  I made a bunch last year and they were gone in no time.  Hopefully I kept a lot of birds alive with all the fat I fed them! Click on the image for the Bird Seed Balls recipe…

 I hope these recipes and tips have inspired you to attract birds to your fall and winter garden.  What birds to you attract to your yard in the colder  months? I’d love to hear from you and even see photos.  You can share them with over on my Facebook page or via Twitter.  Tweet tweet!

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