DIY Tree


I love Christmas. As with a lot of you, it’s my favorite holiday. This will be the first Christmas my husband an I spend together as a married couple, so it makes this one extra special for me. I am very excited about the new traditions we will develop in our family.

One of the best things I love about Christmas is the decorating. I love decorating for the holidays. It brings me so much joy and excitement. This year I’ve been browsing on Pinterest for some holiday decoration ideas. I found an image of a simple wood tree and I fell in love with it. I thought, “hey, I can make that!”… And so, I did. I think it came out great! I absolutely love it. I decided to use it for displaying my holiday cards.

Here is how I made my tree. I used:
3 – 1″ x 3″ x 8″
16 – 1 1/2″ nails

I made each of my cuts for my tree 4″ longer than the previous one, so that I would have extra 2″ on either side of my “branches”, when I put my tree together. My shortest branch, which will be the top of my tree, is 8″ wide. My longest board, which will be at the base of my tree, is 36″ wide. I was able to get my 3 longest boards from my first 1×3, and all my other cuts from my second board.

Cut list:

I made these cuts from one 1×3:
1×3 @ 36″
1×3 @ 32″
1×3 @ 28″
These next cuts were made from my second 1×3:
1×3 @ 24″
1×3 @ 20″
1×3 @ 16″
1×3 @12″
1×3 @ 8″
I cut my last 1×3 in half for my tree trunk:
1×3 @ 48″

I nailed my tree branches to my trunk. I used an extra piece of 1×3 for spacing. Brutus was supervising.


I used Minwax in Classic Gray to stain my tree, giving it a vintage look.

I bought a wood star plaque from Joann Fabrics, painted it antique white, and strung some lights on my tree. I then just used scotch tape to place my cards.



Pretty simple, huh? I’m looking forward to using this tree for many seasons to come!

Let me know what you think!


Becoming La Niña

Mabi & Jerry


Forty has been a year of great change for me. From getting engaged, to getting married, to moving to a new place with my new husband, to starting my own business… 40 has been busy.

So, as I approach my 41st birthday, and look back at all the changes this year has brought, I realize that we are always striving to become “that” person we want to be. ‘Becoming’ never ends. This is a really wonderful thing: To keep growing and evolving as you journey through life’s ups and downs. Your becoming takes shape. It could stay on the same path, or grow in a completely different direction. That is so exciting to me!

In this new stage of my life, I have realized that I am still becoming. For this reason, I have made the decision to change the name of my blog to Becoming La Niña. You will also be redirected to my new domain These changes will occur in the next couple of weeks, and I will keep you posted as the changes are made.

Thanks so much for all your support. I am so excited about this new step, and I hope you will continue to follow me on my journey of Becoming!


Spring/Summer Garden

Garden Courtyard2

Ok, so I’m sure you’ve noticed by now that I never finished my Fall Gardening series. Well… that’s because, sadly, none of my plants made it. So I’m giving it another try this spring and summer. This is a big project because I actually want to turn my small courtyard into a colorful garden where I’ll grow my veggies, herbs, and flowers. Eventually I want this place to be a relaxing oasis where I can enjoy a meal, or a lovely visit with a friend. And since it’s right outside my kitchen, it’s a convenient spot to grow my herbs and veggies. Garden Soil Garden Herbs

Instead of starting from seeds, I decided to purchase seedlings… I wanted to give my plants a greater chance of survival this time. I planted my herbs and veggies in containers using organic soil.

Garden Palm Garden Flowers

A grouping of big and small plantings are great way to camouflage garden hoses and other unsightly items.

Garden Veggies Garden Courtyard3

Like I said, it’s a big project and it’s a work in progress. I’ll keep you posted on my progress. I just hope my plants survive this time. Wish me luck!


Transplanting Limes


I planted 3 lime seeds in one container hoping one of them would sprout. Surprisingly, all three seeds sprouted and grew together in the same pot. Now, I want to separate them, each in their own container.

I pulled them out of the container and started separating them. Since all the roots were intertwined, I was careful not to damage them too much during separation. Then I noticed that the two smaller trees had actually fused together at the base, so I decided not to risk it, and kept them together. In their new containers, I watered them generously, and I will be keeping an eye on them till they stabilize in their new pots.



IMG_0270 IMG_0272


Spring Daffodils


Daffodils are a sure sign that spring is here. Daffodils come in wonderful colors and slightly different shapes. These flowers, a favorite of many flower gardeners, have a pleasing aroma and are easy to grow and care for. Daffodils are grown from bulbs and can be found at any garden nursery, home improvement store or can be ordered from catalogs.

But they don’t need to be planted outside. Daffodils can be planted in containers indoors as well, just place them near a sunny window and make sure you keep their soil moist, not wet.

047    051 052    046 044    012



Essential Finds: The Flower Recipe Book


I consider myself a very creative person. I love crafts and decorating. I love taking something that’s not so great and turning it into something fabulous. I really enjoy it.

When it comes to flowers, however, I SUCK!! I can’t for the life of me put together a decent flower arrangement. Flowers are the Kryptonite to my creative powers. Until yesterday…

Yesterday I stumbled upon what I think might be my salvation from the world of ugly flower arrangements. The Flower Recipe Book, by Alethea Harampolis and Jill Rizzo of Studio Choo, immediately caught my eye at Barnes and Noble. I picked it up, flipped through a few of its beautiful pages, and I knew I had to have it. This book gives clear, step by step instructions on how to create a floral masterpiece, and how to care for your flowers. It provides the reader with a list of “ingredients” so you know exactly what blooms to buy and how many you will need, which is exactly what I need! And of course you can use your creativity to change things up and make these creations your own, using different flowers and unique vessels to put them in.

I am super excited about this book and can’t wait to make my first fabulous arrangement. I’m sure I’ll be referring back to this book regularly in future posts, as I explore this new world of beautiful flower arrangements.

Stay tuned!


Gardening With Mom

Gardening - Before

Last weekend my mother and I decided that we needed to stop putting off the gardening we’ve been talking about for months. We just wanted to make the entrance of their home less cluttered and low maintenance, without spending too much money.

We transplanted some grasses from the back yard to the front, and bought some flowers which will eventually fill in the space nicely.

We also got a great workout. Shoveling dirt is hard work! Did you know that  general gardening can burn up to 272 calories per half hour, depending on your weight. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention suggests gardening as a great way to get some of the 2 1/2 hours of the minimum weekly activity recommended for health.

I know it’s winter, but if you live in warm climate areas, take time to enjoy the outdoors and while beautifying your outdoor space at the same time.

Gardening - After


Fall Gardening: Part Three

Most of my seedlings have sprouted! As you can see, I’ve removed the dome from over them and they are getting pretty tall. However, it is still not the right time to transplant these little guys into the garden. So when is the right time?

Every plant is different, but a general rule of thumb is to wait until the seedling has at least 3 – 4 true leaves. The first leaves to emerge on a new plant are called cotyledons, as seen above. These leaves store nutrients to support the new seedling for a short period of time. The cotyledons will look different from the true leaves.

True leaves grow shortly after the cotyledons. The true leaves emerge and start generating energy through photosynthesis that will help feed the plant for the rest of its life. Making sure that the plant has enough of these leaves to keep it sustained when planted out in your garden is important to its proper growth.

So, I still have to wait a little while longer before I can take these little guys to their new home. Check back for part 4, when I’ll do just that! Stay tuned.


Fall Gardening: Part Two

Instead of planting my seeds directly into my mini pots, I like to use the Burpee’s Pot Maker to make little paper pots, with newspaper strips, and use them as liners inside my mini pots. I do this so when it’s time to transplant my seedlings, I can just pull out the “liners” and put them directly into the ground. The newspaper is biodegradable and I don’t have to worry about root damage during transplanting.

I use an organic seed starting soil mix to help my seeds along.

Letting the soil soak up some water before planting my seeds will help get some of the air out of the dry soil and my seeds won’t float out of the soil when watering, as they would if I didn’t soak it first.

I only plant one seed in each pot and label it. If the seed doesn’t sprout after 10 to 14 days, I’ll just plant another seed in it’s place.

Indoors I put all my little pots on a tray near a sunny window and cover them with a plastic dome. This will create a greenhouse effect, keeping my soil moist and warm. Notice that the bottom of my dome is elevated. This is necessary to keep the air circulating… You don’t want to suffocate your newly planted seeds! The dome will stay on until the first sprout appears. Then the dome must be removed, and I’ll be back with part 3 of this series when it’s time to do just that. Stay tuned!


Fall Gardening: Part One

Fall is a wonderful time to start a garden. Many veggies, such as lettuce, cabbage, carrots, cucumbers, and broccoli thrive in cooler weather.

I love having my own variety of lettuce to make fresh salads, so I’m getting ready to plant my small crop. However, this is what my planter box looks like at the moment. It’s not a pretty sight.

Getting rid of all overgrown weeds, or anything else that’s overgrown, is vital to the development of my lettuce. I don’t want my lettuce to have to compete for any nutrients.

Adding manure and organic matter to the soil will also help boost the health and growth of my plants. The soil where I live is very sandy, making it not very nutrient-rich, so these additions to the soil will make a big difference.

I also relocated my planter box to a more shady area, as lettuce and other cool weather corps prefer more shade. Not that they don’t need sun, but they prefer to get more shade rather than full sun like tomatoes and peppers do.

I will be planting a variety of lettuces, but I like starting all my veggies indoors, in individual, mini containers. This way I can control how many seeds I plant and how many seedling I can expect, and I don’t have to worry about thinning my seedings and discarding the excess.

I will go into this further in Part 2 of this series, and you can follow the growth (hopefully) of my mini garden, so stay tuned.