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J Bryant Writes | a work in progress

Flower Box Makeover for Under $30

It’s been one month since I moved into this house. And let me tell you, this place needed some serious love. One area that I wanted to fix was the flower box in the front yard. No, I don’t really have any experience gardening or doing yard work. But when have I ever let inexperience stop me?

Ok, it wasn’t really a flower box at all. Mostly just a mess of dirt and old bricks and a dead tree of some sort. Either way, it looked pretty depressing.

With all the moving expenses I’ve incurred the past month, I didn’t have much money to spend. Also, I’m renting this place. I don’t want to spend a ton of money fixing up the property :)

The first thing I did was price garden stones. WalMart had some plain ones for 99 cents, but pretty much everything else I found was at least $1.50 a stone. So I checked the free section of Craigslist to see if anyone was giving them away. (You never know.)

What I found was a listing for free brick! So I drove a few miles to a nice little house that had a stack of brick in the driveway, and I loaded up the bed of my truck. (For the record, I am so not cut out for hard labor. Hauling bricks is hard work! Especially in 100+ degree weather.)

Now that I had that taken care of, I had to decide if I wanted to actually plant things in the ground or use planters. As I said, I’m renting, so I decide planters would be best. I can take them with me when I leave! (Which won’t be for some time, I promise.)

I went to Ross and found three cream colored planters that I loved. The small one was $3.00, the middle one was $5.99, and the large one was $6.99. I had another planter I already purchased from the Dollar Tree, too. I also picked up a bag of brown mulch from Wal-Mart for less than $4, and 4 solar LED lights for $1 each. And I found a little perennial to go in one of the planters for $3.

On Sunday night, I got to work. Thanks to my mom, I had a nice little garden tool kit :) I dug up all the old bricks, pulled the dead tree out of the ground, and dug holes for each new brick. I had a really hard time towards the end. The roots from the larger tree in the yard ran right under the flower box, so the bricks aren’t entirely straight. And I started losing light, so the last bricks are just laid on their side for now.

I’ll need to play around with the lights – that crooked one is trying to avoid a tree root right now. And I need to find some more plants to go in those planters. And you know, finish this side properly. Oh, and fix the giant hole in the front yard where the previous tenants had someone (not the city) dig.

But it’s a start!

So, let’s tally up the cost:

  • Bricks: Free
  • Planters: $18
  • Mulch: $4
  • Lights: $4
  • Plant: $3
  • Potting Soil: $1

Right at $30. Ok, it will cost a little more once I buy the rest of the plants. But even just leaving the planters empty, it already looks so much better. I even had a neighbor come over and talk to me after I finished the project. Yes, he came over specifically due to this project – he even mentioned it!

So even though the bricks aren’t in a straight line and the yard still needs so much more work, I’m still happy with the result. Especially since it was within my budget!

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Liz Lemon is My Spirit Animal

I’ve been told numerous times that I would enjoy 30 Rock, but I never really got around to watching it. But recently I’ve been seeing gifs of Liz Lemon on my tumblr dashboard. I was intrigued.

So I started watching 30 Rock on Netflix.

And y’all, I love Liz Lemon. Her awkwardness, her glasses, her attitude, her love of food…Liz Lemon is my spirit animal.  


I am nearly as oblivious as she is in these situations. And yes, I do believe I would prefer the mozzarella sticks to another drink. Thanks for suggesting that, Liz.

When I told a friend I was moving into this house alone, she made me promise to leave the house once a day. She was afraid I would become a hermit. It might be a valid concern. Which brings me to…

Yes, I have said this before. A friend and I also decided we should throw a “I didn’t marry the wrong guy or have a baby out of wedlock” shower for ourselves. I want nice pots and pans too! And some towels I didn’t purchase at Target in college in various bright colors because I thought it would be fun to have nothing match. And a Keurig. Those things are practically required to be on a wedding registry, aren’t they?

And when I’m around a group of women I don’t know, this is how I feel. Awkward and searching for common ground.

Yes! Preferably some form of potato, but pizza would do too. Or a cheeseburger. Or patty melt. And now I’m hungry. I’m going to go talk to some food about this…

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A Weekend in Key West

A picture is worth a thousand words. So here’s about ten thousand words…

Maid of Honor, Round Three

For the second time this summer, I’m maid of honor in a wedding. This will be third time as MOH. (Technically fourth, but the first time I was co-maid of honor with my sister for my aunt’s wedding when we were kids.)

This weekend, my little sister is getting married. We’re finishing up some last minute tasks – putting new ribbon the guest book, adding a little color to the flower girl basket, painting our nails :)

So I’ll be focused on that the next few days. Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

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