Make a Glass Flower Garden

Flower Garden Decor
One of my favorite ways to spend a day is combing through thrift stores and junky old antique shops. Around here, because I live in a touristy area, there are lots of stores featuring random collections of cool stuff, combined in new and interesting ways. Lots of vintage tractor seats turned into stools, old doors turned into potting tables, barn wood turned into wall art. In one of those stores I saw a bunch of glass plates mounted together to look like a flower. That version was really simple and made to hang on a wall, but as soon as I saw it I knew I could do a version that would stay in the garden and keep things looking beautiful even when the real flowers weren’t blooming.

Step 1
First you’ll need a collection of glass plates. The more variety you have in colors, sizes, and shapes, the more amazing these flowers will look. To attach them together and to the stem we’ll need a screw right through the center. Drilling through glass might seem intimidating, but it’s just a matter of having the right tools for the job. I get real specific about that in my birdfeeder post, but really you just need a drill bit made to drill through glass, a tub of water to keep things cool, and a towel in the tub to keep things from moving around and to absorb the drill once you make it to the other side of the plate.

Step 2
Aim for the center, but it’s really not crucial that your aim is true. The center of your flower will be a drawer pull, so make sure you use a drill bit the same size as the screw thatĀ fits that.

Step 3
Depending on the thickness and number of your plates, you might need to buy a longer screw. You’ll need the screw to be long enough to go through each plate, plus the pipe, and have enough left over to screw into the drawer pull that will be the center of your flower. Stack your plates up on top of that screw and use silicone caulk to glue the plates together. Don’t glue the screw, you’ll need to take that back out so you can attach your pipe, but using it at this stage means all your holes will line up the way they’re supposed to. The silicone caulk will glue the plates together but also provide a little cushion so you can’t overtighten the screw and break anything, but they also won’t rattle around every time the wind blows.

Step 4
Cut your copper pipe the length you want for your flowers to stand up, plus enough to bury in the ground. Drill a hole all the way through the pipe a few inches from the top.

Step 5
Cap your pipes so they look finished and pretty.

Step 6
Now you can insert the screw for real. Thread it through the pipe and through your stack of glued plates, then screw the drawer pull onto the front and tighten until it’s secure. Use a mallet to pound your flower into the ground, making sure to hit the pipe and not the plate.

Step 7

Step 8

Yard Flowers

I love the sparkle and color these add to my yard. And as we’re still recovering from a drought, it’s great to have a way to add a little beauty to my yard that doesn’t require any water. I might have to let my yard die for the sake of the environment, but these flowers will still stand tall and beautiful.


Queen of the Artichokes

Artichoke Queen

Last summer I put two artichoke plants in my garden. They mostly sat there while my tomatoes took over everything, and sat there still while the pumpkins curled through the yard and then rotted where they grew because I had to abandon everything in preparation for my surgery. So imagine my surprise when I went out to the side of the house and found this! Sometime during our wet winter and short spring the artichoke plants exploded. I have dozens of them. I had to toss out a bunch that had already gone to flower, and there are still more than I could ever eat. Turns out artichokes are just late bloomers, but they’ve made up for the extra time they needed.


Year of Pleasures: Therapy Animal Collector Cards

Animal Therapy Cards

Atti had his hip surgery at Shriners Hospital here in Sacramento, and I thank my lucky stars every day we live so close to them. Shriners is the very best place to be for a kid like Atti, and they also do exceptional work for kids who have survived horrific burns, paying for many kids from developing nations to travel in and receive treatment.

Having a whole hospital geared to the needs of kids is such a tremendous gift for us. There’s a whole floor filled with toys and books and games, flooded with sunlight and pop music and art projects, each kid is greeted with a sack of presents, and my favorite, therapy animals make rounds.

This trip I learned that not only do therapy animals make rounds, but each therapy animal has a collectors card made up. So the kids can have a memento of the great visit they had.

In my utopian fantasies, teachers will be celebrities and instead of cards for professional athletes, kids will spend hours lovingly collecting and trading the cards of adorable service animals. That world would be so much happier.


Tresa gets a trainer


It’s been three solid years of torturing my body trying to have another kid. It’s been over eight years of hoping and trying and testing and measuring, but it’s been three years of hormones and needles and pills and surgeries and procedures and hospitals. It’s not quite over yet, we still have two frozen embryos we’ll be giving one last try before the end of the year, but that’s almost a formality at this point. We don’t expect a different result which means that I’m making peace with having only one child with needs that exempt him from the typical childhood experience. Not a single other part of my life has gone according to how the stories go, so parenting shouldn’t be much different.

I had my major surgery in December, and Atti had his in February. I was still in my recovery window when Atti became completely dependent and needed to be lifted – in a particular way that kept him immobile – several times a day. Which meant that I was carrying this 50 pound kid everywhere he needed to get without functioning ab muscles. It’s amazing my back held out for as long as it did.

But of course I got injured. Caregiver injuries are no joke and I can pretty much count on fighting back and muscle problems for the rest of my life. I have one friend who just had her spine fused because of damage done by improperly lifting her disabled daughter. But children are not free weights. There’s really no way to properly lift a free-spirited child. They work against your proper form.

I can’t blame it all on Atticus, though. My back was hurting me but what sent me into full spasm requiring muscle relaxers and my own immobility was my dumb butt trying to yoga my way out of the injury, but only yogaing my way into full blown seized up muscles. I suck at moderation.

Which makes my trainer even more perfect for me.

When I first started meeting him I was charmed by his hippie ways. He’s a little more open to the woo woo than I am, but I cannot argue with the results he gets. He does this thing called active meditation where he makes me work really hard and then stop and meditate and it works like magic to get me crying about pent up stuff every time. Unfortunately, since my surgery, I’ve been to bad off to use his full skills. Instead he comes over and does some energy work and some deep tissue massage. Somehow he still makes me cry just by pushing on the right spot. Last time he pushed on a spot in my abdomen and I let out a blue streak that would make a sailor who left the sea for the call of the open road and now worked as a longhaul trucker blush. I had to end the session by apologizing for my remarks about his mother.

Right now I can’t do much of anything. I walked a mile around the lake and it knocked me out for three days. I’ve had shin splints for weeks. My trainer has to keep begging me to listen to my body and stop pushing so hard, but I have no chill. I am regularly so bummed out about my current condition that I go right past where I know I should stop just because it’s so depressing that THAT is where I have to cry uncle.

I’m trying though. My trainer keeps promising me that a little bit is all it takes to make progress, so maybe by the time Atti is grown I’ll be fit.


Metal Flowers for Outdoor Festivities

Make Metal Flowers

You know how, from June to September, you can’t open a magazine or watch a commercial or scroll through Pinterest without seeing incredibly gorgeous outdoor living spaces? Twinkly lights and flowing fabric and beautiful table settings that all make you long for that way of life, dining under the stars and sitting on a couch […]

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Kitchen Chalkboard for Hungry Kids

Hungry Chalkboard

Summer vacation has started and I’m already losing my mind. Atti is so much more active and attentive than he was this time last year and for the first time in my parenting life I’m understanding all the lamentations of my mom friends during summer vacation. He is constantly asking for entertainment! He’s up in […]

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Upcycle Old Dishes Into A Backyard Birdfeeder


I’m going to be bringing you a ton of outdoor tutorials in the next few weeks. I’ve been completely obsessed with my backyard and I’ve got a million things I want to do with it. For today I thought I’d start with a simple one that will also lay the groundwork for what’s to come. […]

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Please Don’t See Me Before You

You Before Me

Me Before You is opening next weekend, and I’m begging you to ignore it. It’s a real shame because the actors are lovely and I’m sure everyone behind the production is good people, but this movie is dangerous. Spoilers ahoy: The beautiful man is a successful dude with everything going for him and then gets […]

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3 Simple Steps to Craft Organization

Messy Beads

Keeping your supplies organized is a problem for every single creative person. And there are so many “solutions” on the market it can make your head spin. In fact, back in the day when I appeared on QVC, that’s what I was selling: a line of craft organizing tote bags. A company hired me to […]

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The secret to quality healthcare


In December I had major abdominal surgery to treat my endometriosis. My stomach was expanded with air to a truly alarming size and then each of my internal organs was lasered clean. Including all whatever long feet of my intestines. You might imagine this kind of surgery would require a minute to rebound from, and […]

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