Create A Cafe At Home

I was feeling creative when I arranged a glass table and two chairs this way. I can sit and watch the children playing outside while I imagine myself to be in some cute, outdoor cafe.

What’s Needed for Your Cafe at Home

  • A small table. Preferably round.
  • Some strong coffee, which you can make anyway you like.
  • An interesting book. In my case, I’m reading The Power of Thought by John Algeo and Shirley J. Nicholson. It is quite intriguing.
  • Two chairs. I suppose they don’t have to match.
  • Your laptop or notebook if you’re working on something and don’t have time to read.

And that’s it! A space created.

In my cafe there are toddlers running around so I’m off to help a little one. Ciao.

An Experiment with Grapevine

Last year, my mother and I discovered a most amazing creature: the grapevine. While clearing a thicket of invasive Honeysuckle and grape vines, we carved out a flower bed and created a path. We had long, thick vines drying next to our house and soon knew how we would use them.

My mother, a creative and resourceful person, thought that we could use the grapevines in several ambitious ways. I, a bit skeptical but wanting to learn everything I can from the older women of the world, listened to her thoughts. I have learned a lot from my mother about critical but open thinking. So, we made a few wreaths from the thinner vines, and played with the larger pieces for a few days.

Inspiration finally struck, and this is what we created.

A fading echinacea and some hosta are enclosed by grape vine hoops.

It is important to note that I cut these vines in the fall, let them dry through the winter and early spring, and pushed the bent vines into the ground after heavy rains.

When cutting the grape vine, we looked for natural curves or particularly bendy pieces and cut the bottoms at angles (to make them easier to stab into the dirt). We were very surprised that this worked and most of the vines, those that are not battered by my son or the dogs, have remained in the ground.

We were even more surprised to see new, green tendrils sprouting from the old vines and curling around other hoops. The vines pictured above have been “pruned” twice this year. The grapevine grows fast and I know how difficult it is to remove, so I am a bit stern with the new growths.

I love to recycle and reuse things of any material so this was an exciting project. My mother’s creativity really shines in the garden and I have learned a thing or two about grapevines, thinking outside of the box, and giving others space to create.

Create A Path

Entering the flower garden. Or exiting, whichever you prefer.

A path is a beautiful thing. A hidden, or mysterious path is even more enchanting. A path is difficult to build, however, and takes a bit of creativity and an inventive eye. The path I created is pictured above and has cost me a lot of hard work, time, and a little bit of real money. I built its foundation by clearing a large, overgrown thicket of Japanese Honeysuckle (according to the locals this invasive plant grows everywhere here) and thick grapevines that must have lived on the property for some ten to twenty years. The vines of both the Honeysuckle and the grapevine had strangled a few small Mulberry trees and were sucking nutrients from some ornamental bushes that had been lost or forgotten over time. I’ve dug out countless roots and destroyed at least one pair of loppers (every time I chop with them, the handles slam together on my knuckles. Its very painful but I don’t understand the problem). The Mulberry trees have grown by inches, stretching out their cramped and twisted limbs in glee. Mulberries are falling now in the spring, when previously the trees had been too choked to produce anything. The soil is mostly made up of clay and hard-packed and the ground slopes down into a drainage ditch, which fills up to the top with fast moving water after heavy rains, an arroyo of sorts. This is where my compost comes in handy and I’ve purchased a lot of mulch. Flowers are finally growing here and their root processes are helping to change the concrete-like soil.

I love paths of all kinds, especially hidden and untouched deer paths. As my path began to evolve from my many trips through the disappearing thicket, I thought up some ways to improve it. Here are some of my “Must Haves” when making your own path.

Exiting my path. The compost pile is just to the left and behind me, across a little creek that funnels rain to the ditch.
  • Its gotta lead to somewhere. This one leads you through my rehabbed flower garden and around the back of our shed (and incidentally, towards my compost pile).
  • It also needs something interesting to look at on your way. I’ve planted a mix of perennials on both sides of the path: lamb’s ear, peppermint (an invasive but fragrant herb), plenty of hosta, spider-wort, and a few more of our favorite flowers. I have tentative plans for a hidden fairy garden, a bug hotel, insect watering holes, and uses for broken pots or dishes.
  • It needs to be somewhat defined. We first placed those pieces of wood as a border for the path. I plan to remove them but for now they help me keep the weeds where I want them and the mulch in its place. Also, those pieces of lumber have helped immensely in reminding me of my vision for the garden: where plants should go, where they shouldn’t, how far from the path, etc.
  • Its nice to walk on something solid. I salvaged some unused stepping stones from neighbors and re-positioned some large, flat river rocks from the yard into a gentle curve. I also used some square paving stones that were under my outdoor water spout. I have yet to dig around the stones and set them into the ground. Along my path-creating journey, I found a childhood heirloom and decided to place it in line with the other stepping stones.
A stepping stone my mother and I made when I was little. That’s my hand print and some old rocks I really wanted to add.
  • You may be wondering where a person might stop to smell the flowers on this makeshift walkway. Indeed, I am missing a sitting area in this garden, along my path, but I have some solutions in mind. One involves an antique bench, painted lime green by the previous owners. For now it rests in the shade in the front of my house, a favorite spot of my husband and son, who like to sit and chat there when the weather is nice.
We bought this from a local antique store. Its missing an arm but is still a nice seat.
  • Finally, your path needs someone to walk on it. I initially cleaned up the huge pile of brush, tangled in with the invasive vines, the jutting roots, and the poor, straggled limbs of the Mulberrys as a way of removing hazards for my adventurous and outdoor-loving two-year old. It was a massive project from the start but its become a lovely, calming place for me and my family, though we still have a lot of inventing to do.

And nothing quite beats watching my son, now three, jump from stone to stone, reciting his numbers along our path.