A Match Contacted Me & Other Fun Updates

Happy Friday!

Over the last few weeks, there have been so many things I’ve wanted to share but none of them were quite enough to create a whole post about, so I today I’m putting them all into one post.

Contacted By a Match

So remember back when I did the Ancestry DNA test? If you missed it when I got my results back, you’ll find that post here: Ancestry DNA. After I got my results from AncestryDNA, I uploaded them to GEDmatch which was completely free and gave me a ton of info, very little of which I understood. lol Maybe one day I’ll take time to study all the various results it yielded to see if I can figure it all out.

DNA Email


I haven’t had time to really build much of my family tree at AncestryDNA. I’m still figuring out just how the site works. But something kind of fun happened! A few days ago I received an e-mail via AncestryDNA from someone who had noticed we are related. (You can opt in to have your email visible for contact or not, and I’ve chosen to let it be visible.)

The person who contacted me was trying to trace down our family connection. We are apparently 4th, 5th or 6th cousins. I haven’t gotten very far with my family tree but after spending some time on it the last couple of nights, I’m starting to understand better how the site works. It’s such a time-suck, though. You follow one link and that leads to 20 more discoveries, which leads to another 60. After a while, it’s a bit overwhelming.

Hopefully I’ll get better at knowing where to put my time and energy as I spend more time building my tree. I can see why folks get hooked on this genealogy stuff. I feel a bit like a detective as I discover more and more family members and add them to my tree. Sometimes you find things that really surprise you.

Anyway, I just wanted to share that this DNA test really opens up a lot of doors to reconnect with family you never knew you had. It’s totally up to you if you want to pursue any of the connections. If you’re like me and have lost much of your family (parents died when I was 19 and 22 and my brother and sister who were in very poor health have passed now) I really encourage you to take the test. There are no needles involved, you simply spit into a little tube and mail it off. Read more about that process when I did it here: Where Do I Come From Anyway

Once you get your results back, be sure and upload them to GEDmatch and Family Tree DNA, which is free. The cousin who contacted me actually noticed our family connection via the GEDmatch site. As I do a better job of completing my family tree at AncestryDNA, I think I’m going to reach out to some of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd cousins Ancestry has discovered. It was pretty awesome to hear from a cousin I didn’t even know was out there.

How Does Ancestry DNA Work_wm


DIY Shell Chargers

I thought it would be fun to take a photo of all the shell chargers together so you can see the difference adding sea glass made. From a few of the comments I’ve received, I think some folks thought I may have taken the old chargers apart and remade them.

Fortunately, I didn’t need to do that in order to make them with sea glass because I had so many of the inexpensive, plastic style chargers that I was no longer using. I found them many years ago in Old Time Pottery for around $2 each, and after priming/painting them, they were perfect to use as a base for making the shell chargers.

I still really like the original non-sea glass chargers because I love how neutral they are and how they’ll easily work with any beach/nautical dishware pattern. But I’m really glad to have the sea glass ones, too. Which do you like best?

A Dozen DIY Shell Chargers


Finally Decided on a Trash Can for the Potting Bench

Remember when I bought, assembled and painted my periwinkle potting bench? (Pssst: If you were one of the folks who wanted it but it was sold out, I noticed today that it’s back in stock again here: Potting Bench)

I have so enjoyed using it this summer! I’ve been babying it a little and placing a large trash bag atop it when potting plants, but I’m sure I’ll eventually just pot up plants right on top of the painted surface. Baby steps. lol

Periwinkle Potting Bench for Potting up Flowers for the Garden


Anyway, right after I added the bench to the garage, I was really wishing I had a large trash can to go beside it. I was crushing on these adorable painted cans I saw in this photo at Lowe’s.

Potting Bench


I eventually stumbled across the tutorial for painting them, and after reading it, I decided it was more work than I wanted to put into trash cans that I’d probably be banging into with garden carts and other stuff I store in the garage. But they are adorable, aren’t they?

I liked their size because the opening is wide enough to throw away anything you may need to toss while gardening or working in a garage. I drove over to the Lowe’s nearest me to check out the cans in their non-painted state and all the ones they had in stock were really banged up and dented.

Aqua Turquoise Green Potting Bench form Lowes


It has been a pain not having a trash can in the garage because I’m always opening bird seed bags and other garden products in the garage and then have nowhere to toss the empty bags/wrappers. A few days ago I went online and found the same cans HERE and ordered one hoping it wouldn’t arrive all dented up.

I’m happy to say it arrived in perfect condition, completely surrounded by those air thingies inside a gigantic box. And what’s really funny is how much I like it in silver! I actually like the way the silver looks with the periwinkle color of the potting bench. I also love its retro look. Just wanted to share this in case you’re in need of a large can to go beside your potting bench.

I believe these can be used outdoors because it says they are rust resistant. Plus, the photos show them in outdoor settings. So excited to finally have a great trash can for the garage! It looks so nice as it is, I don’t think I’ll ever go through all the work of painting it. If you get one and give it a fancy paint job, let me know! I would love to feature it for a Metamorphosis Monday some time.

Retro Style, 31 Gallon Trash Can


The Foxtail Fern That Could

Three summers ago I wrote a post sharing some plants I had added to the deck. One was this cute Ponytail or Foxtail fern, aka Asparagus Fern. I love this fern, just love how fluffy it looks!

When I first potted it up, I put it in a large pot with several other plants. I was going for the “Fill, Thrill, and Spill” look. Each winter I place this planter in the garage to winter it over. Our winters can get really cold here.

Ponytail Fern_wm


The following summer I replaced some of the annuals with another pretty plant (forgotten the name of it now) and it all but tried to take over the whole container. The Foxtail fern was having to fight for some room! Eventually I cut back the other plant a bit to give the fern more space.

Foxtail or Pony Tail Fern Planter


I can’t remember now if the other plant eventually died out or what happened to it, but look at Miss Foxtail Fern now! She flat-out owns this planter!

A little spider built a web all between her branches earlier this spring and I didn’t have the heart to dismantle it. She’s still living there and I see her each time I go in/out the screened door near by. I like to think she’s doing her part to keep the mosquito population down on the deck.

I rather like how Miss Fern looks filling up this planter. Sometimes one plant per container is all you need, especially if she’s a fluffy, pretty fern.

Pony Tail or Fox Tail Fern


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  1. Brenda Johnson says

    Susan, I’m an avid reader of your blog and newsletter and have followed you for several years now. You always have great content! We seem to have loads in common and when you did the post on AncestryDNA it really peaked my interest to see how you would pursue that adventure. It was nice this evening to see your follow up to that experience and I’m glad you’ve had some positive contact via Ancestry. Let me tell you……it is hands down one of the best “time sucks” I’ve ever gotten myself into! I now have over 23,000 documented relatives and so many DNA matches it’s unreal! If only this were a school requirement so children could learn American history and ultimately European and other continents history too. The connection I feel to my country and to my discovered roots makes me so proud to be a part of something much larger than myself and my immediate family. If you love to do research and love history, this is a wonderful arm chair hobby to pursue. You can devote as much or as little time as you like. But you will always leave with a degree of satisfaction no matter what you discovered that day. It’s also a beautiful legacy to leave to your son and grandchildren. If you have any question regarding tips for getting started, just let me know.

    • Thanks, Brenda! Brenda, do you have the “Explorer” membership? I was wondering if it’s worth it to get that membership to access records from overseas.

  2. rebecca dexter says

    Glad to hear about your DNA experiences. I have loved doing it and have actually made contact with 2 third cousins (one is actually a double third cousin). We have become quite close and email constantly and I have even been out to Colorado Springs to visit one of them. My family never talked about the past so I was clueless and really failed to ask questions when I should have done so. I have been amazed at what I have discovered but also frustrated when I run into a brick wall and then I have to put it away for a few months and then sometimes there is a break through. It is a fascinating but frustrating and time consuming hobby. Have fun!

    • My family never did it, either. Thankfully, my sister-in-law kept a few things and my sister made copies of the info she had and gave me copies a few years ago. I too wish I had asked questions, especially at the few family reunions we had when I was growing up. I bet as more folks go on ancestry and create trees, it will get easier and easier. So many of the folks Ancestry has matched me to, do not have family trees at Ancestry.

  3. I like BOTH sets of dishes a LOT…but I guess my fave is the one with the sea glass becuz of the extra color. I was just talking to my mom tonight about the DNA test. I want both her and my dad to do it. Much better than ME doing it. I want to know what comes from who. My uncle is doing genealogy on my dad’s mom’s family. The DNA test would be so much easier!!!

  4. When you place your pot in the garage to winter over, doesn’t it need light and water? I don’t know much about gardening.

    • Bunny Rogers says

      I lived in Atlanta for 30 years and I too hauled MANY potted plants to the garage every winter. It depends on what kind of garage door you have. Mine had large glass windows which let in some much-needed light. But still I would sometimes leave the doors open to let lots of light in and some I had in children’s wagons or on rollers so I could roll them just outside the garage on sunny, non-freezing days.

    • Yes, they do. My garage has two 6 foot windows and windows all across the garage door, so some light shines in. It mostly shines in through the windows in the door itself since the bigger windows have plantation shutters on them. I just put the plants as close to the windows as I can so they get some light each day. I water them about once every couple of weeks. So far that has worked each winter.

  5. I browsed through several ancestry sites and uncovered family all the way back to Cornwall. I thought our family was small. I even found out that I am probably a very distant relative to my husband. We might have common relatives back to the 1700s in Tennessee. I found out that so many fascinating things……..what fun it was. I have cousins all over the place…..including Georgia. I found out I have many things in common with relatives Ive never met from long ago. I was not very successful on my Mothers side but who knows i may discover more later. Anyway, enjoy your research. Maybe we are related, who knows….lol…anyway, love the chargers

    • Nancy, that’s amazing! Good job going that far back! I’m trying to decide if I should sign up for their “explorer” membership to access overseas records. Any recommendations?

  6. My daughter just tried 23&me ( similar to AncestryDNA) even though I reassured her that no matter what she hoped she was stuck with us as her parents lol! The results are interesting and I may try Ancestry as a point of comparison. I love your energetic fern. It looks so full and lush now. I couldn’t possibly decide between your chargers. They are equally beautiful. You could host quite a banquet for all the mermaids in your life!

    • I just uploaded my Ancestry DNA test results to Family Tree DNA and paid the $39 fee to unlock the matches there. It initially gave me a message that it would take a few weeks to process all the data, so not sure if they’ll provide more info in a few weeks. It found additional matches right off the bat, so not sure if I’ll get even more info in a few weeks or how that works. I think I may have to take a break soon, I’m staying up way too late trying to work on it. It’s addictive!

  7. Caroline D says

    I absolutely LOVE your blog ! It makes me happy. I settle down and read it in comfort with my G&T. Bliss.
    Caroline in North Yorkshire U.K.

  8. Love your fern but noticed leaves on your deck. My daughter just purchased a lightweight rechargeable blower to do her deck so she did not have to sweep or wait for the lawn people to do it. It was reasonable and she also blows out her garage and the front porch..Something to look into. Love the chargers. I made 2 mirrors but use Elmers all purpose glue. Takes longer as I can only do so much at a time but the shells stay on better Love Tablescape Thursdays

    • Carol, it’s funny you should mention that because I was just looking for one a few weeks ago on Amazon. I hate having to put up with the leaves in between when the guys come to mow. The guys who cut my grass were coming yesterday, so I didn’t bother with trying to use my heavy, extremely loud, awkward blower before taking the pics. I would love one that doesn’t weigh a ton and isn’t electric or gas powered. My current one is electric and awkward to use. I’m sure they’ve gotten better since I bought that one many years ago.
      The reviews on the battery operated ones at Amazon were not very good when I was looking a few weeks ago, so I’d love to know which one she went with. It has to be strong enough to get the leaves up and over/through the railings since the bottom rail is really close down to the deck floor, so the leaves can’t scoot underneath, if you know what I mean.
      I really like using the hot glue because it dries so fast. I tried using a fast drying glue initially and it was taking way too long.

  9. I also love the silver can! I used one for a church food collection project. I made a large, fuzzy Oscar the Grouch behind the can with a message to “Can Hunger”–someone added a wheel assembly so we could roll it from class to class. Worked like a charm–Oscar has many fans, me among them.

    BTW, wanted you and your readers to see a cottage INSIDE a hangar–yep, you read that right. Here’s the site:


  10. Just love those painted trash cans! I agree that would be a lot to do for a trash can that would be banged around, but still so cute! Thanks for sharing.

  11. The DNA test is really cool Susan! Hope you’ll share more of what you learn.
    Thankfully, my maternal family side is well documented BY family through MANY generations–back to the 1600’s! Aaron Burr is in our family tree, as well as the founder of the Mercedes Benz. My paternal side—???? Maybe 4 generations or so, ALL from Czechoslovakia. Might have to look at that test!

  12. Bunny Rogers says

    I have the perfect solution for getting leaves off the deck without a difficult or too heavy blower. It’s called a healthy teenager who has been inside way too long with his/her face in a screen. Hand them a broom and/or a rake and a trash bag and say “Enjoy communing with nature.” Works at my house if they want their screen back. I know. I’m a mean Mama!

  13. Love your fox tail fern! How often do you water it while it is in your garage for the winter?

    • Thanks, Linda! I only need to water it about once every couple of weeks when it’s in the garage. I’ve found it to be very forgiving if you forget and are a little late in watering.

  14. Hey Susan, I own a wonderful battery operated leaf blower that I don’t hesitate to recommend.

    Check it out here. http://www.blackanddecker.com/en-us/products/lawn-and-garden/lawn/40v-max/40v-max-lithium-sweeper/lsw36. Vikki in VA

  15. YOU ARE a riot!! This was FUN!! franki

  16. Susan
    Do you remember when you featured the outdoor ferns from Home Depot?
    Well I ordered 2 right after you featured them. They are thriving so well on my deck.
    Thank You for the info on them.

  17. Hi Susan, I like your galvanized cans best! They look nice painted but that paint will eventually wear off and then what! We use them to keep bird seed in because critters can’t chew through them. And they don’t rust. Shiny and bright, it’s a good thing. You could always put a plaid purple bow on the handle (plaid since you are a plaid lover) πŸ™‚ The pink liners will be cute too. I love your chargers too! I like them both ways. Sometimes you want a little blue glass and sometimes you don’t! That was a real labor of love for sure and it shows. I love your ideas, you are a clever girl πŸ™‚

    • Thanks so much, Nancy! That’s a great idea using them to store birdseed. Like the plaid idea! πŸ™‚ Don’t you just love that a company thought to make pink trash bags! lol Who says your garbage can’t be decorative, too! πŸ˜‰

  18. Susan,
    I have smaller versions of the galvanized cans to store my different potting mixes/soils. I set them atop rollers and can wheel them anywhere. I too love them unpainted.
    Foxtail fern is a notorious slow-grower, but once established it will reward you with its simple beauty for years. Enjoy!
    Can’t decide between the chargers, but mixed and matched sure will make for a pretty tablescape. How did you control/address all the hot glue streamers during assembly?
    As always love your posts and thanks for the updates.

  19. I was just wondering how you store your shell chargers. I wouldn’t think they would stack very well. Love reading your posts.

    • Thanks, Karen! Surprisingly they stack really well. I have them stacked now on my breakfast table. You wouldn’t expect them to with all those shells.
      Shell Chargers Stacked

  20. Where can I buy cheap plastic chargers. I love yours. I was going to make some and now this confirmed it for me love your blog Susan

    • Thanks, Susan! I would check any of the dollar stores, Wal-mart, Big Lots, Old Time Pottery and any other super discounted type store that you can think of or might be in your area. I wouldn’t be surprised if Dollar Tree or Dollar General had them these days. If you can’t find them in those places, check on eBay. Also, the thrift stores in your area may have some.

  21. Love your blog and both sets of chargers. I love tablescapes and look forward to your each Thursday. Your purple potting bench is adorable and your pink trash bags will look cute spilling over the top next to the bench. Thanks for sharing. Good luck with ancestry DNA. I know my day would be consumed by my computer. You have great will power!
    You have such a fun blog, thanks for allowing me share in your adventures.

  22. My favourite chargers, have to be all the shell ones and isn’t it amazing how ‘Mother Nature provides such beauty’. β™₯ your new trash cans and potting bench as well. Happy gardening! (Kind of sad though, that summer is at its end.) -Brenda-

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