My name is Diana Elizabeth. My husband and I live in a restored 1952 red brick home that sits on a former citrus grove in Phoenix. I'm a journalist who went from writing about fashion and reporting on the LA red carpet to a photographer and FORD model. When I'm not behind or in front of a camera, I enjoy blogging about my home projects, and the things that make me happy with camera in hand.
I appreciate old homes, love adding fruit trees to our yard, and I firmly believe making a house a home is a wonderfully fun ongoing project. I'm bravely jumping into the domestic life hoping one day I will bake a homemade pie so I earn my badge. This is a glimpse into my life and work.
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Oh boy it’s starting to warm up. Easter Sunday I decided to poke around the garden. This means, going out with a natural spray (or this) to get rid of pests eating my garden, rip off dead artichoke leaves (they are massive and sticky), and check on things that are growing. Tip: Sit still long enough to watch your garden and you my catch brown caterpillars on the move! Always take time to sit and observe.
I also decide if I want them to flower – which for some, means they will die, or if I should clip them, or harvest anything that is ready.
In this area I have purple carrot I started from seeds. The little cute leaves you see budding are the malabar spinach that needs a trellis. Apparently the berries fell, and they will just keep on coming! I’m so excited to have things that do that so I don’t have to buy new ones. It dies every winter because of the frost, but in spring they come back up and it thrives during the summer. You can cook it or throw it in salad. it’s a bit thicker than most spinach.
I also decided to dig up a few carrots. This year I sowed the seeds in taller raised beds since last season I put them in shallow boxes which resulted in very scary, short, chubby looking carrots that the Mr. wouldn’t touch. They went to the bunnies. This year, look at them! The carrots are from seed tape, because I’m very lazy to sow seeds sometimes.
Because I was gone for a few days in Dallas for TGIFridays last week, I missed the right time to harvest my artichokes. This is one thing I’ve learned, my first harvest season typically is semi-successful because I wait too long, unsure when it’s the right time to harvest them. Last season I waited for the peppers to get larger (I’m from Northern California so I assume produce is large and hefty), but later learned from local gardening classes that in the dessert, we are unable to get things that large.
I love how large my artichokes get! Did you know they are perennials and can live up to 5 years? I would love to landscape with them. I’ve decided to let a few flower as we still have more artichokes on their way.
Benjamin is so sad about it. But I reminded him at Sprouts artichoke heads are only .99.
My Queen Elizabeth rose is doing well. She was battling a fungus over the winter which is never fun. After lots of oil spray, I think she’ll be fine. I brought one in to sit by my kitchen sink.
And since I have finally successfully grown lettuce because I understand they are a cool vegetable, it’s time to start eating them. I do get terrified of eating my own grown things because of bugs. I told Mr. Wonderful not to stare too closely into the salad just in case I missed washing a few bugs off. I have terrible bugs in salad stories at restaurants that for a good few years, I stopped eating vegetables all together. I’ll spare you the stories, but once, I found a sharp screw in my salad at a restaurant which was clearly not from the garden.
Oh, and the few survivors that didn’t get attacked by birds. I threw those into our Easter salad.
I should have a pig so I could have had him for Easter dinner. Just kidding. I did say that I should have bought a little honey baked ham but I was terribly bad at planning much since I was out of town. Thankfully I can wing anything and Mr. Wonderful is thrilled.
A few things I have my eyes on to help with this summer’s harvest, and a few things I already have that might help your garden:
Row 1: Tubular Metal Half Garden Arbor / Bendable Steel Garden Edging / Solid Wood Garden Storage Cubby
Row 2: Cucumber Trellis / Raised bed corners / Tomato Ladders, set of 3
Row 3: Willow Plant Support, set of 2 / Seed Tape / Adjustable stem supports, set of 3
Row 4: Floral Cotton Bandana / Leather and Linen Garden Gloves / Strawberry supports, set of 6
I crazy love that bandana. I think I’ll sew one of my own this week with Liberty London fabric.
Diana Elizabeth is now reminded her time outdoors may have be earlier. So this might also mean she needs to wake up earlier. The bunnies are enjoying outdoors but prefer sitting on the dirt to stay cool.
This is my herb box that divides the patio from the backyard, right off the laundry room/kitchen area. I’m pretty certain this wasn’t my idea, it was probably my friend Michelle’s who has her own food blog, as I would never imagine something so perfect. I plant some herbs there – along with a few colorful flowers, so I can easily walk out and grab some fresh herbs if I need it while cooking.
I also try to not waste water, so any leftover water from boiling eggs, pasta, that sorta thing I pour into the herb garden or on bushes. Aren’t we so fortunate to have fresh clean water? I think about that every time I turn on the faucet.
I can’t stress enough the truth of, “The best thing for a garden is a gardener’s shadow.” The other day I noticed my artichokes were looking pretty pathetic. A few checks on the automatic drip system showed me they were only getting watered once a week. And lately, this heat has been taking a toll on my veggie garden so it really started to show.
Every day I jump in my garden boots from Target (similar) and go out and check to make sure things are OK, no bugs have attacked things, watching it before it becomes a real problem. Just one full yeas into taking on this adventure of gardening I’ve finally stopped killing things – although there was that one time I mistakenly composted my entire harvest of limes out of confusion – apparently I had the smaller limes that go into your Corona instead of the ones I thought I bought. Oh well, I’m excited for next year.
Are you going to start a garden soon? If so, check out this post I wrote about how we started our garden beds.
In Phoenix, our season is coming to a close, the heat will kick in and we’ll be able to grow tomatoes, basil, peppers, jalapenos and a few other things, but say goodbye to our lettuce and peas.
Here are a few gardening things on my mind as of lately, a few things I proudly own:
If you’re hesitant about gardening, take a few local classes. There are usually classes your city offers that are a few bucks, just ask your local nursery. I took many classes in order to understand where I should position my garden (and I totally didn’t listen but it still works), and how to keep grass away. Don’t be afraid – I used to kill things all the time, and that’s just part of learning!
Diana Elizabeth wouldn’t be as good of a gardener if it weren’t for her supportive husband Mr. Wonderful.
So it seems as though we have a digging problem on our hands…
Every day the girls get to go outside, so I don’t understand their issue with staying in their incredibly large run. But maybe, just maybe it’s starting to get warm? I mean they do have a fur coat on and all.
So Mr. Wonderful dug them a little hole. Very Hobbit like if you ask me.
Then a few days later I was outside and noticed both of them were chomping at the grass like crazy, and not swallowing. Don’t run with your mouth full, ladies.
So I watched, and they were gathering.
Which I find incredibly adorable since I don’t know how bunnies communicate but they were taking every grass strand they fit in their mouth and would run back into the tunnel.
Way to use the cushion, Liberty.
Diana Elizabeth and Mr. Wonderful are thinking about creating an underground pipe tunnel for them to go in and out of their outdoor hutch. Liberty and London are still kept inside during the night time because they are too little and they worry about them being safe at night.
I love to shop, but the grocery store is so boring.
Nothing changes. The store looks the same – all the time.
Then a friend mentioned think about how many times you touch your groceries. You touch it to put it in your basket, into the cart, then out of the cart onto the checkout belt, into the car, then out of the car, then one more time into the fridge. This is why Safeway delivery is worth it.
It also keeps you from wandering the aisles and over spending. I once tried to save money by going and instead I spent $180 on groceries when my Safeway cart at home online was at $80.
Here’s all you need to know:
It takes me under 10 minutes to online shop. The only downside are any really specialty items they might not have listed, and you can’t pick your produce of course. But, I’m fine with that because I can drop in a much smaller store to grab anything else I need last minute.
Also, you may tend to spend less because you aren’t browsing the aisles throwing things in your cart. Stick to the list.
This was your public service announcement. Check it out here.
Diana Elizabeth does this during the summer because it’s too hot to shop or go anywhere for that matter.
After watching my idol Martha Stewart explain on video how to make a reversible placemat, I ordered some favorite Liberty of London fabric in Navy Leonard (blue and white floral), Junos Garden Bright (peacock), and Eve Primary (multi color). I ordered 1 yard of each, they are $36 per yard, one is $18. I know it’s pricey, but it’s Liberty of London, so of course it’s the best textile print out there! And yes, that’s the store our buns are named after.
Just how much do I love it? Remember this photo when I was in London?
I already had heavy duty infusing fabric because I love to sew, and I simply followed Martha’s instructions in her video. I’m thrilled with them because they are uniquely ours. With 3 yards at the width they came in, you should have enough to sew 4 double-sided placemats. This was one of those things I’m not going to lie – it frustrated me because of my own doing of not measuring correctly and cutting poorly. Note to self – measure twice, cut once applies to expensive textile fabrics as well. Somehow, I made it work.
Here they are drying in the sun after I used Scotch Guard on them. Because that’s what you do when you spend $90 on fabric for placemats.
I do have leftover fabric so I’m going to create some more fun things and I think also start to display all the Liberty of London fabrics I use like this, only using the fabric inside:
Anyone else like to sew? I’m looking forward to creating so much this summer – while some of you have had harsh winters and that’s when you do your projects, summer when I work on mine!
Diana Elizabeth needs to scour some thrift store for a variety of the embroidery hoops to display her Liberty of London fabrics.
Yay! I can now shave my legs and not miss spots because I have light when I shower.
Have you seen the new trend of half shower glass doors? They were all fancy over London and Ireland in our hotels that I knew I wanted to do it too! I went with the thickest glass, 1/2″ because I think substantial and spending the money is just worth it when it comes to something you won’t replace for like, ever.
Sorry about my lines, I had to pick one to line up and being scrunched in a corner to take it with my widest lens, that just didn’t work out how I planned. These are not professional!
Thanks to A Touch of Glass, who did this in a week. I love those guys!
Gosh now I need to find some prettier containers to go in my shower now that everyone who uses my bathroom will see my things.
Diana Elizabeth took this photo after her cleaning lady left, because this will probably be the only time it will look so good!
How about a few before and after photos to really show you what we’ve done to our backyard?
After (new tree by the outdoor sink in the back):
I placed flags where I wanted the new trees to be planted. It made for an entertaining conversation with the nursery, “That’s not the gas line, right?” Oh, no, I just took those flags and moved them, haha!
Before - too many random bushes and plants:
After, add two more desert honeysuckle and another climbing rose which will be pink and bloom all the time!:
Oh, and the buns really like the purple lilac vines I added to their area.
“Oh hey, this tastes wonderful, thanks!”
“Hey London, you should try getting back here, it’s even better from this position.”
I am pretty sure we are done until we replace the wood fence in the back with the white smooth stucco and brick border on the top. I’ll probably do the creeping fig (as seen on the walls at Biltmore Fashion Park) since they will be shaded on that side. I don’t anticipate that happening for another few years or so, but you never know with us.
We are going to have so much shade I can’t wait. Then come fall/winter, the leaves will drop and we can warm up in the backyard.
Diana Elizabeth is looking for a few more low outdoor seating for the bunny area, but it must be cheap. She’s on the hunt this summer for a good bargain!
A few random home improvement and personal updates.
We went to the Luke Air Show. I have a post coming up next week on how to take decent pictures of an air show when you go this season. I think I got my base tan now, Vegas here I come.
We hung a bamboo shade in our kitchen. And now I want to add them to my office, Mr. Wonderful’s office/guest room and well, all of our rooms. Such a nice east coast feel, I think this is an upgrade we need to replace our white wood blinds, but not sure yet, we had some minor complications with hanging them because we live in an old house.
We had 4 new trees planted and a bunch of plants. Whitfill Nursery comes at least twice a year with big orders but I think I might be just about done with our backyard. Here’s a quick photo of what it looks like now.
One more to shade the bunny area:
We’re getting a new glass door installed in our second bathroom (my bathroom), update post coming soon. So my Anthro shower curtain will be gone and sent to my mother who is crazy in love with it:
Knitting is going well. This seed scarf:
Well I’m still on skein color one, and with 99 cast ons, and five more colors to go, at this rate I should be done by next winter.
Small blue rice basket by Fringe Supply Co. (a new favorite store of mine)
My obsession has now carried over to ordering 2 skeins to make the adult version of this:
Yep, I will totally wear it, isn’t it darling? I should complete that in two years time since I’m backed up on my to-do wish list. Finding the Gypsy Garden by Knit Collage in Kinari Bazaar was a tough thing, it’s sold out everywhere. Found it here. Summer is in just a few months time and I think I will have plenty of indoor time to do projects like this. And since I’m slow, I think I’ll be done by the time I can wear my creations.
Speaking of summer crafting projects, add this to my new sewing to do list, because I get to sew another laundry room curtain!
I decided on my investment purse that will hold me over for the next 2-3 years.
Oh yes, come to mama.
Diana Elizabeth also wants to add another garden bed due to the suggestion of Noelle Johnson (www.azplantlady.com). So that will now be in the works this fall!
Photo by Melissa Schollaert
We laughed, played, created and I was in my happy place – my home gardening and playing with bunnies.
Diana Elizabeth is going to enjoy being outside as much as she can until May hits!
In case you missed the last post about our buns being separated, here’s an update. I finally moved Liberty out of the dining room for several reasons (because a pet does not belong where you eat!) and especially after I saw this:
GAH!!! My Pottery Barn jute rug! Good thing this is in the back against the wall. Look at those bites.
So we moved her below her sister. The smaller bun gets the bigger space, but we also let her run because she’s potty trained (they both are but London is a crazy to get back in her cage so she has to be OK with just going outside).
Oh, what’s this? Look at this little stinker sticking her head through:
And then look what I found one night:
My OTHER Pottery Barn rug! I could really strangle her. But she’s so cute that I can’t.
Liberty must have a thing for PB rugs.
Whatcha doing Liberty? Oh, just laying here licking the rug. We are still on a hunt for a double condo cage but can’t find one that will fit in our laundry room. We may have to do custom. Oh, Dennis the handyman to the rescue!
Diana Elizabeth says bunnies are not pets for everyone. They in fact very bit munchers and they like to chew on anything and everything because their teeth grow two inches every year and they have to keep them down by chewing on things.
Hi! I’m Diana Elizabeth, named after Princess Diana and Queen Elizabeth. I'm a photographer, wife, model, and Christ follower. I'm just learning as I go and sharing my stories!
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