Monthly Archives: October 2014

Feeling Halloweenie

Halloween light display at

As usual, we’ve got to keep up with the Joneses for Halloween. Our little town goes crayons for Halloween, so we always feel ‘pressured’ to assimilate. It’s the town’s fault. Fer shure.

Man, how I love those purple LED lights in the wisteria. I wish I could leave them up all year without being that person. Photos just really don’t do them justice. They are magical.

Purple and orange Halloween light display at


Halloween lights at

Lots and lots of lanterns help set the mood.

I love lanterns with flickering candles. I am all about the battery-operated timer candles that turn themselves off and on; their lovely amber light is the perfect complement to the purple LEDs. We also swap out the bulbs in all our permanent light fixtures to orange/amber bulbs so that they coordinate, as well.

One of my favorite, favorite things to put out are our blinking eyeball lights in the hedge. They’re called Peep’n Peepers and you can now get them on Amazon.

Blinking googley eye hedge lights at


Our hedge eyeballs in action:

Halloween wreath and decor at

A few orange battery-operated lights illuminate a black wreath. Our orange front door really loves this time of year.

Halloween decorations at

A tree branch, spray painted black and decked out in lights. And a couple of lurkers.

Clearly things are a little more exciting at night, but there’s plenty to see during the day, too:

Halloween front porch at

Love those amazing scarab pillows from Ikea.

Front porch Halloween decor from

That orange front door just begs for a black wreath, doesn’t it? This one is available seasonally from Grandin Road. The raven doormat is from World Market (also only available when Halloween swag first hits the shelves. So…June).

But yeah…the nighttime really is the righttime.

Halloween light display at Farmhouse38.comHope everyone has a fabulous Halloween!

Halloween Mantel Makeover

A Halloween fireplace mantel makeover from Farmhouse38.comLet me start by saying that our living room mantel situation is and always has been kind of the bane of my existence. I am a big fan of the fireplace. In fact, this is the first house that we’ve even had one in (and we had to put it in) and I was SO excited for that mantel to decorate! But you know what I am not a big fan of? The TV hung in prime position over said long-pined-for fireplace mantel. It really sucks the focal point joy out of the focal point, ya know? But, unfortunately, in our teeny little house, there is just no other place to put it. Trust me, I’ve tried. Oh, the brain cells I have lost thinking and rethinking the floorplan to get that darned TV off my fireplace. To no avail. So…BEHOLD: giant, glaring TV.

Now that I’ve brought your attention to it and it is all you see, let’s ignore it and look at the mantel, shall we?

A Halloween Mantel Makeover at

The ‘Before’ mantel. Or let’s just go ahead and call this the ‘Usual’ mantel.

The ‘usual’ mantel decor tends towards a little bit of a mess; a rather haphazard collection of objects and books that I’ve really only stuck there temporarily. This is because we aren’t actually finished building our mantel ‘situation’. The intention is, and always has been that we will be building shelving all the way up to the roof on both sides of the fireplace. But we just haven’t gotten around to it. For six years. It’s on our list for this fall…but until then, let’s Halloween it up in here a bit, shall we?

A Halloween fireplace mantel makeover at

Ah yes. Much bettah.

First and foremost, I needed to get those bookshelves handled. I’d been wanting to swap out my odd assortment of coffee table books for a display of my antique and reproduction book collection. It just so happens that the jacket covers on these books play towards a much more somber color story. Perfect for Halloween.

Vintage book collection at

I love vintage books (and vintagey-looking books), and they are rather inherently haunted-mansiony, don’t you think?

And then, of course, I had to have some miniature bunting…

Simple, miniature halloween fireplace mantel bunting at

Bunting is always essential. This is just black and white grosgrain ribbon bits hot-glued to white, cloth-covered wire.

And an odd assortment of bottles, lanterns, candlesticks, and mercury glass.

A Halloween-styled mantel at

Halloweeny odds and ends.

My “fresh picked” sign above the TV is now replaced with a handmade “Nevermore” sign, with a few accent wall spiders (plastic spiders just stuck on with earthquake putty).

DIY Halloween Nevermore chalkboard sign by

This sign was a snap to make: a reclaimed piece of MDF board coated in spray chalkboard paint. Then, using the Farmhouse38 Sign Painting method, I transferred the lettering and then colored them in with white grease pencil for a permanent ‘chalk’ look.

A tree branch spray-painted black is a perfect perch for craft store crows. I love how the clock face kind of winds up looking like a full moon. I meant to do that. Yeah, totally.

Halloween Mantel Decor at


Underneath the tree branch is one of my favorite little things: my terrarium that I like to mess with every season. Time for a tiny Halloween scene!

A Halloween terrarium featuring tiny skeletons, a tiny graveyard, and tiny tillandsias at

Tiny skeletons emerge from a tiny graveyard amongst tiny tillandsias.

The rest of the room has gotten Halloweened, also.

I swapped out some of our more colorful throw pillows for darker tones:

Throw pillows and misc. Halloween decor at

The lefthand pillows are from Pottery Barn and the green stripe is from Ikea. I don’t remember where I got the cute, framed Trick-or-Treat embroidery, but it is one of my favorite things. Another craft store crow sits on top of the mirror.

Chalkboard black-painted pumpkins with black glittered stems at

A simple coffee table centerpiece of tiny punkins painted matte black with black-glittered stems.

A Halloweeny collection of thrifted brass candlesticks with glittered black candles at

My odd assortment of thrifted brass candlesticks look very fun with black, glittered taper candles.

A Halloween floral centerpiece of black silk flowers in a silver urn at

An all-black floral centerpiece sits in the middle of our table. And hey…what’s dropping out of the light fixture?

Faux spiders dropping down from a light fixture for Halloween at

Spiders. Spiders are dropping out of the light fixture.

Faux spiders hanging out in a light fixture for Halloween at

Oh. Oh there’s more spiders.

Halloween spider surprise on the inside of a light fixture at

Surprise!!! There’s a lot more spiders. (cheap plastic spiders rings–with ‘ring’ removed–hot-glued to small magnets and stuck to the metal fixture).

Gosh darnit, I love me some Halloween.

A Halloween fireplace mantel makeover at





Oh, Sierra Water Gardens, You Complete Me


I’ve been hearing about this place for awhile now. My Reno friends visit often, and talk it up. They bring home the loveliest little garden bits every time that they go. So, I started following Sierra Water Gardens on Instagram, and then on Facebook…and there was no turning back. On my latest trip to Reno, I had only one request: I. Must. Go. To. There.

And you know what? If you are ever in Reno, I’m telling you, you must, as well. Take a little swing down Dickerson Road…you’ll know where to park: right next to the old Hudson. The one with plants cascading out the windows.

Old Hudson turned into a planter at

This is taking upcycled garden art to a whole new level of awesome.

Through the wisteria-covered steel beam archway (you know I love me some rusted steel, people), is a secret botanical wonderland. You just don’t see it coming; the loveliness that unfolds in front of you as you step off the road and through that entrance.

Visiting the magical Sierra Water Gardens.

Immediately, you are immersed in container-garden and water-feature heaven. Everywhere you look are pots overflowing with lush greens and splashing water. My eyeballs could not even keep up.

Lovely water feature at

Potted water feature at


A mosaic succulent wall hanging at

There is just something wonderful about the variegated green mosaic of a succulent wall hanging.

Sweet resident garden doggie, Copper, at

It’s at about this time that you’ll probably get greeted by the resident garden dog, Copper. As if I didn’t love this place enough! Sweetest boy.

Stop by the Succulent Bar and find all sorts of goodies to create a DIY garden in a found object container:

A rusted toolbox succulent planter at

More upcycled container-gardening. Rust and succulents are always a brilliant combo.

Succulent display at

Succulents waiting for their turn at the Succulent Bar.

Once you have wound your way through the container garden moment at the front of the property, the true magic of Sierra Water Gardens unfolds:

'Hello Love' letter succulent planters at

The main pond at

Water lilies at

Gotta take a Monet moment here.

The main ponds at

Lush, vine-covered seating area at

Koi fish at

Happy koi.

It is simply breathtaking to stand and take this all in; the ponds, the waterfalls, the bright koi fish, the lush greenery, the secret little nooks and seating areas. And all the while you’re wrapped in that yummy hum of running water. No joke, I could just stand still and look for hours. It’s one of those places that you just want to be.

But, wait. There’s more!

Reclaimed wood sliding barn doors on the adorable potting shed at Doors by BoneyardDesigns

Check out the UHmazing doors on this potting shed. Reclaimed wood gorgeousness designed and built exclusively for SWG by Boneyard Designs.

Let’s just talk about this shed for a moment, shall we? Those salvaged wood sliding doors are phenomenal.

Detail of salvaged wood design in the potting shed doors at


And the reclaimed, rusty corrugated metal roof is killing me. Killing me.

Phenomenal reclaimed wood sliding barn doors and vicious guard dog at Doors are the creative genius of

Copper digs it.

But also–the inside of that shed is not to be missed. Treasures!!!

Tillandsias displayed in rusty old tool bin drawers at

Tillandsias displayed in rusty old tool bin drawers.

The mouth of a big, glass terrarium with a belly full of lovelies at

The mouth of a big, glass terrarium with a belly full of lovelies.

Tillandsias displayed on a rusty mattress spring at

Tillandsias displayed on an old mattress spring. Joy.

Stained glass window in the potting shed at

A reclaimed stained glass window glows in the back wall of the shed.

Potting shed light fixture at

I’m in love with the shed ‘chandelier’. Casual, industrial, and so delightfully colorful!

A giant tillandsia at

Excuse me, Miss? There seems to be a mistake. I believe I ordered the *large* tillandsia. Laura of Olive and Love displays the newest addition to her airplant family.

Reclaimed wood and chalkboard potting shed side door at

Look at the side door to the shed. Just look at it! GAH!

Back outside, I fell in love with these:

Succulent heart planter at

And took one home. 🙂

I also fell in love with these:

Shop kitty Fig at

Shop kitty #1. I disturbed Fig’s catnap.

Shop kitty, Newt, at

Shop kitty #2, Newt, assists me in exploring the gardens.

I thought about taking them home.

Oh, and when you wander to the back of the property, you find that the whole thing backs right up to the Truckee River:

Reclaimed wood garden gate leading to the Truckee River at

I love that charming reclaimed wood gate, too. The river’s not bad, either.

And, in addition to the all-around awesomeness that is Sierra Water Gardens, they also do live music on Saturday nights during the summer season, featuring independent local musicians. You bring your wine, you bring your cheese, and you sit and soak it all in.

Summer Saturday night live music at

The vibe on a summer Saturday night is absolute bliss.

Shop doggie, Copper, loves live music night at

You may get some Copper love while you’re enjoying the music. Especially if you have cheese.

Musician Tyler Stafford ( plays at's Saturday summer live music event.

Musician Tyler Stafford was the incredible talent for the night. Check him out at

A blissful evening of live music at

Like I said: BLISS.

Undoubtedly, you’ll meet these two smiley faces:

Sam and Sutter of

Sam and Sutter; they run the joint. Oh, and they also live there. Oh, and they’re also the cutest couple EVER. (Photo courtesy of Samantha Stremmel).

So YES. Put this place on your must-stop list if you are in Reno (between April and October, they are understandably closed in the winter). Sit a spell and soak in the tranquility. Hit the succulent bar and build yourself a sweet little garden somethin’-somethin’ to take home with you. Buy a couple of koi for your pond. And say ‘hi’ to Sam and Sutter for me. And Copper, Fig, and Newt, too.

Oh–and you simply have to find them on Instagram and Facebook–two of my favorite feeds. A lot of gorgeous photos getting got over there.








Phoebe’s 1st Birthday

Phoebe's 1st Birthday at

I cannot believe this little lunatic is a year old! And in true Farmhouse38 fashion, we couldn’t let this moment slip by without a little party. So Phoebe donned her finest tutu and tiara, and I whipped up a really simple and adorable layered pupcake. And before anyone freaks out, the flame on the candle in the above photo is photoshopped in…a tutu on a tasmanian devil next to an open flame: how’s about NOPE.

Phoebe's 1st Birthday at

I do have to say: for a tasmanian devil in a tutu and tiara with a tantalizing snack right in front of her nose…she was so super patient and obedient while I took hundreds of photos.

After a successful photo shoot, it was time for cake:

Phoebe's 1st Birthday at


-1 can of wet dog food of your choice that keeps its ‘can’ shape (I use Blue Buffalo brand and it really doesn’t keep its shape too well, so you gotta sorta improvise)

-3 slices of whole grain organic wheat bread

-Approx. half cup of organic, no salt creamy peanut butter

-a thin sheet of cardboard or cardstock

-some cute, heart-shaped training treats or kibble as decoration

This cake was super simple to make. I started with a can of wet dog food: the gross, meatloaf-y kind that sorta keeps it’s shape when you shake it out of the can. Before I removed said gross dog food from the can, I actually used it to trace a circle on a thin sheet of cardboard (I stole a piece from the back of a notepad…none of my notepads have cardboard backing anymore-I always steal them for random projects like these). Cut out this circle and build your cake on it–this makes it easier to slip a spatula under it and move the cake around when you are done (you know…in case you are doing a long, drawn-out photo shoot with it).

Open your dog food and shake it out onto a plate so that it preserves its ‘can’ shape (Thanksgiving cranberry dressing-style). If it doesn’t keep its can shape, you can still kind of cut a piece and smush it together. Now use the opening of the can as a cookie-cutter to cut three crustless circles of bread.

Place your first bread circle directly on top of the cardboard piece and center. Now, using a sharp knife, carefully cut a slice of wet dog food (I cut mine approx. a half inch thick) and gently set it on top of the first bread circle. Follow that with another bread circle and press the layers together gently. Add another layer of dog food and top with the final piece of bread. Again, press all the layers gently together.

Now, ‘ice’ your cake with the peanut butter. It may help to heat the peanut butter to a consistency that allows you to easily spread it without mauling the cake structure. Once you have it iced, top it with a few kibble or treat ‘sprinkles’.

Phoebe's 1st Birthday at

This actually cuts very nicely into cake slices.

Phoebe's 1st Birthday at

Brown dog and white dog wait patiently for their cake.

Phoebe's 1st Birthday at

Those slices didn’t stand a chance.

Each of my dogs was only allowed one slice of cake–I think it goes without saying that this is a once-in-a-blue-moon treat and not something they should be fed frequently (and I don’t recommend that anyone feed this whole cake to one dog). Bread isn’t that good for dogs. In small doses, it can actually be a good source of fiber–but please don’t make it a habit to feed your dogs this on a regular basis. Most bread has added sugar and salt and all sorts of stuff that is just not good for doggie tummies. Raw, unsalted peanut butter is considered by most to be a healthy treat, but also proceed with caution. Just like people, some dogs can be deathly allergic to it. But…ya know…sometimes even doggies gotta treat yoself!

Phoebe's 1st Birthday at

Happy, happy birthday to this silliest little girl. Never a dull moment.


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