Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Bring the Outside In!

Plants are not only a great way to bring a splash of color into a room, but some are fantastic at cleaning the air! Many species can remove chemicals such as benzine, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene. NASA has even studied the air cleaning properties of houseplants and has created a list of the most efficient ones.  Dr. Oz recommends Snake Plants for sleep.  Though I'm sure any air purifying plant would do. I have 4 different snake plants in my bedroom in addition to a spider plant and I sleep just fine.

One of my original Pothos, well, half of it, anyway!

One of my newer plants, a fern. It's not doing so hot right now.

My kitchen spider plant. These are great at removing toxins from the air and they reproduce like crazy! I can't give them away fast enough!

Houseplants really bring a sense of life to a room. They're a great decor element that is easily moved, easy to control the size, and they're pretty inexpensive. You can get small houseplants at anywhere from $2 and up depending on the size and species. Most are also pretty hardy and don't require a lot of care.

When it comes to houseplants, the most expensive part tends to be the finding a flower pot to put it in. I recommend heading to your local thrift store, garage sale, or dollar store and getting creative. Sometimes you can find actual pots and if you don't like the color you can paint it. Still no luck?  Pick up a Terra Cotta pot, coat it with primer (don't skip this step, Terra Cotta is extremely absorbent and will suck the paint right up!), and paint to match your decor.  This is a fantastic way to add a bit of color to a room without buying new furniture or painting the walls!

Gardening in Small Spaces

It's spring! Time to start digging in the dirt!
I'm fortunate to have a small yard attached to my townhouse, which is fantastic. I have just enough room for some small raised beds.

Roma Tomatoes, Zucchini, Broccoli, and Kale
Marigolds sprinkled throughout to discourage pests.

Earlygirl Tomatoes, Zucchini, Basil, Thyme, Cilantro, Lavender


In the pot on the right is the sage I planted last year


However, many who rent don't have much outside space. Some places come with balconies or patios and others have no outside space to speak of. To you I say, don't despair! 
Have a balcony or a large windowsill?  Try container gardening.

I currently have some broccoli and mint growing in some pots:

For small spaces, I highly recommend these two books:

Grow Great Grub: Organic Food from Small Spaces and  All New Square Foot Gardening

It doesn't always have to be about food. Don't forget about potted flowers! Even if you don't have a patio or balcony, you can still enjoy potted flowers on your windowsill. You can grow gorgeous flowers to enhance the look of your space.
"Total Madness" Petunias my son picked out.

Of course, you can also buy some ornamental food plants and do both at the same time. Try an upside down tomato planter (cherry tomatoes work best). You can make one yourself out of a plastic hanging pot. Just cut a small hole in the bottom for the tomato plant to grow through.  I haven't done it myself, as I have no where to hang anything, but I've heard the results can be quite nice and you can put some gorgeous purple and green basil in the top of the planter which will not only enhance the flavor of your tomatoes, but will add some beautiful color to your outdoor space (and can you say "petso?"  Yum!).

Don't have any outdoor space to speak of? My next post is all about houseplants, so stay tuned! 

Saturday, April 21, 2012

When was the last time you...

Cleaned out your Coffeemaker?

You should give your whole coffeemaker, (including the inside!) a good cleaning every month. Water deposits build up inside of it, not to mention coffee residue, and other things. It can really affect the taste of your coffee after a while.  Here is what I do every month:

1. Wash the entire outside of the machine to remove dust, grime, and drips of coffee. Use a toothbrush to get into nooks and crannies, warm water should remove the rest. If you need a little bit of extra cleaning power, add some vinegar to your wash water.

2. Clean the carafe and any other removable, washable parts really well with soap and warm water.  While these parts are out, take a look at the machine again and see if there is any residue you can wipe off before you put the parts back in.

3. Fill the carafe 1/2 with water and 1/2 with vinegar.  (You can use less if you really hate the smell of vinegar, maybe try 1/4 vinegar and 3/4 water).

4. Run the brew cycle.
5.When the cycle is finished, dump the vinegar water (now it's a great sink/drain cleaner and deodorizer!) and run a cycle with just water. Sometimes I will run 2 cycles of plain water, just to make sure I got all of the vinegar out.

6. Make a pot of coffee and taste the difference!

7. Repeat monthly. It helps me to pick the same day every month to clean it.

This should only take a few minutes of your time (not including waiting for the brew cycle), but the first time you do this you might find yourself spending a lot of time scrubbing. Just remember, if you continue to do this monthly, it should take less time the next time you clean it.

Air Fresheners

I am not a fan of air fresheners. They aren't good for those with asthma and allergies, and really, most of them only cover up smell instead of addressing the issue, or worse, they mingle with the smell making it even nastier. My preferred methods of dealing with unwanted scents are through cleaning or removing the problem. However, sometimes this isn't practical. For instance, we have a particularly smelly family member. His name is Wyatt, we love him too much to get rid of him, and it isn't practical to wash him every day.

And sometimes there are cooking odors and other smells that just can't be dealt with that way. So what's a girl to do?  I don't want to use the chemical sprays that typically don't smell all that great to begin with. Not only do I not like the look of the air fresheners that stick on the wall or sit on the shelf, but I don't feel that those types of fresheners are good for our olfactory senses. I've read that you can leave a jar or saucer of vinegar out to help deal with those types of smells, but I wanted it to look nice. So I went on the hunt for a jar:

Not only does the vinegar keep algae and other things from growing in the jar, but it looks pretty cute. And since I got the jar through a swap with my friends and my mother gave my son the little fish, it didn't cost me a dime.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Reinventing Your Space

What is reinventing your space?

Reinventing your space is making it yours again.  You want to feel comfortable in, invigorated by, and happy with the space you live in. It’s standing in the middle of your room and feeling that it reflects you. 
This is particularly hard for those of us who rent. We are limited in the ways we can change our space. Many of us can't paint, we have to be careful what we install, and we most definitely can't be knocking down walls!

Why me?  What gives me the authority to write about such things?
I have done a lot of creative space "reinventions" due to frequent moves. My first move was into a very small dorm room that I shared with 3 other people, eventually I moved into an apartment. Then I got married, to a soldier, and we were sent all over the country. Each space I moved into was unique in its challenges to decorate and each was a rental. I became adept at taking a small space that didn't belong to me and a limited budget and turning it into endless possibilities! My current space has given me the most inspiration and I finally feel that I have mastered the art of transforming a rented space without painting, installing, or doing anything else that the landlord would frown upon.

You deserve to come home to a space that speaks to you, relaxes you, and makes you happy. Even  if you rent.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


Welcome to MoonBird Decor!
Frustrated by interior design advice that revolved around painting walls and cupboards, installing new things, replacing fixtures, counters, and doors, or knocking down walls, I decided to explore ways to personalize my space in a "non-permanent" way.  With a limited budget, I discovered ways to incorporate color, personality, and style into the cookie cutter design of my townhouse. I'm not finished reinventing my space, but I am so excited to share my ideas! I hope you enjoy sharing my design journey and I hope I can help inspire you to bring beautiful change into your space as well!
In addition to the blog I have an Etsy shop. I stock my store with items that I find inspiring and I try my best to create instant collections to help my customers achieve an instant "look."
Thanks for reading,
MoonBird Decor