Thursday, December 19, 2013

Autumn and My Favorite Corner

The last of the autumn decorations that I will share before completely moving on to Christmas. Aaahhhh. My favorite corner in the kitchen. I adore this little spot. It's pretty and functional.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Autumn Mantel

The mantel in our house is very….strange to say the least. About 5 inches wide and 15 feet long. It's the oddest mantle I've ever seen. EVER. I don't love it. The width (or depth), I understand due the wood-burning stove, and clearance specifications. The length? What were they thinking when this was built? They? Them, the construction company that built it years and years ago. The family room is also very oddly proportioned. Oh well, I keep trying to make lemonade with the lemons of this room. The autumn mantel was fun to put together this year.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Harvest Take Down

It's time to say good-bye to all of the harvest decorations until next year. Wow, the time has gone by very quickly.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Spring Forward...Fall Back…Spring Back…Fall Forward?

Honestly? Almost 4 months have gone by since I've been here and I don't know which direction I went. Forward or backward?

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Graduation Cap Place Card Holders

Update: Find the tutorial, just click here.

Place card holders are such a wonderful way to add that special touch to any event, be it large or small. You can use them for assigned seating, or use them for labeling all of your dishes so guest know what they are eating. Let's be honest, they're also just darn cute and very tidy.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Outdoor Tablecloth Weights

You have an outdoor gathering, tablecloths are in place, the table is decorated and set beautifully, and along comes a gust of wind. Ever had that happen?

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Party's Over

Yes, finally, the Graduation Party/Open House is done. You would think that I would be happy. I miss it. There's such an empty feeling now that there's no more planning and prepping.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

A NOOK or a Book?

My sister has a NOOK and a Kindle. I think she's crazy for having both, but she assures me that there are books that you can get on Amazon for the Kindle that you can't get for the NOOK, from Barnes & Noble and vice versa. I'm a Barnes & Noble girl. I love going in there just to sit and browse, have a cup of coffee, and relax. Don't get me wrong, a small "Mom & Pop" book store is great as well, I just can't find one near my location that soothes me.

Countless times I've walked through the doors at Barnes & Noble to be greeted by the large display and counter for the NOOK. Countless times I've walked right past it and not stopped to look at it's sleek form and compact design. Why? Because I'm a book girl, I love the smell and feel of pages in a book. Especially an older book. Okay, not the old mildewy smell that one might encounter with a book that has been in a dark, damp place for years and not cared for, but that really good smell of paper pages in a book. I still stand by this fondness, even now, as I glance at my!!!!!!!

I did not break down and purchase one for myself. Santa put it under the Christmas tree. Santa, being my wonderfully thoughtful and handsome husband, TM. This one is beyond his normal gift-giving realm. He tries so hard to find something that I'll like, and this year.....and I really don't know how he did it.......he hit the nail on the head! As previously stated, I have not stopped to look at them, and would never, never, never spend that kind of money on a toy for myself. However, my husband knows me quite well and thought that it would be something that I would love. He's right!!!!!! It combines two things that I love, technology and reading.

This little gadget is great. It can hold many books, magazines, catalogs, and lots of apps, all in one place. No more filling my carry bag with 3 current magazines and a book for reading when we go places. I always take my own magazine with me into the doctor's office or any other waiting room. Many years of getting half way through an article just to find out that it's time to go and I don't get a chance to finish reading the article. Problem solved, take my own. However, I've gotten some strange looks when I've left and others in the waiting room think I'm stealing magazines from the doctor's office. Oh well, let them think what they want. I know the truth. Now, I can take all of my magazines and books with me, all confined in the same small space, and it fits in my purse. Dang!!!!!! That's nice.

It also works well as an organizer, with apps for To-Do lists, calendars, organizing tips, and much more, I'm just scratching the surface. And...with Wi-Fi bubbles, I can get on the Web. Brilliant!! Again, who would have thought that a book girl like me would fall so quickly for a NOOK? TM, that's who. He's good.

As for organizing, this cuts down my in-house publications, because I can pass them on to my friend sooner. Catalogs go straight to the recycling bin, or the school where the students use them for art projects or just for entertainment. So, a great big THANK YOU to my sweet husband. By the way, I got him shoes (Birkenstocks) for Christmas, oh and socks, lots of socks. just never know.

Enjoy your day! Go read a book, or a NOOK, or a magazine. Just read something enjoyable.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Taxes Finished....Check.

Again? It seems like this time every year I'm doing something that I dread and just can't wait for it to be over. The questions, numbers, figures, miles, prescriptions, copays, deductions, credits, confusing questions due to the initial questions, and the ultimate relief of completion. Yep, you got it. Taxes. Not real fun, okay, not fun at all, but it's a necessity. I wish it were having a huge shopping spree this time of year that was the necessity, now that would be fun. Some place, somewhere, in an alternate universe, your shopping spree must be complete by April 15th.

Ah. These spoofs make me laugh. But, then again, I like to laugh. It's good for you.
Now that the taxes are done, and after the extremely busy time we had leading up to Easter, and spring break at the same time, the house has settled down again and life is getting back to normal. As normal as normal can be around here. I'm ready to go outside and enjoy the sunshine, but there are too many clouds, and too much wind, and a "whole lotta" rain. I looked through pictures that I took last year in early April, and what a difference in the plants.

By this time last year, we had dug up and repositioned the border on the planting bed. The plants had sprouted nicely and were growing well.

The bleeding heart in the corner was getting big and already had blooms. One of my favorite plants in the yard is the bleeding heart. It's just beautiful.

Yard clean up had been done and all of the planting beds were waiting for mulch. We can't do much about when the perennials sprout, so we were just lucky. We had not purchased any annuals yet, it was just too early.

It's just beautiful! The bleeding heart is the star of this corner in the spring. The hosta, just coming up in front of it the bleeding heart, gets so big that it camouflages the bleeding heart late in the summer. When the hosta is at it's largest, the bleeding heart is going dormant in the hot summer heat and doesn't look too great. Last year was extremely hot, so it looked quite pitiful in the late summer. It usually stays green and healthy for most of the summer because it gets a lot of shade, but that didn't help in the hot, dry conditions that we had last summer.

The next pictures were taken today, less than an hour ago. Same corner of the back yard. Wow! What a major difference. The bleeding heart hasn't even emerged yet. I thought I saw a nubbin while raking a few days ago. 

Everything is so drab and pitiful looking. Still looks like winter might swoop back in and stay for a while. We just won't tolerate that kind of foolishness!!!! Unless it happens, of course. In which case we'll just suck it up and deal with it, because we won't have a choice.

The poor rock pile even looks cold. As you can see, I left some markers in the ground for my husband. He often forgets to look for the new sprouts and inevitably ends up stepping on quite a few of them. Hence, the markers. Stay on the outside of the markers and all will be fine. 

Note the beautiful garden hose that runs along the fence. Okay, so it's not beautiful, but extremely useful. Hubby runs the hose along the fence into the vegetable garden, where a stand sprinkler is set up and and stays all summer. That way all we have to do is turn on the water at the spigot and water the garden. Much easier then dragging the hose out, dragging it to the back of the yard, watering the garden, then putting the hose away. 

Now, when we head to the deck for coffee in the morning, we turn the knob, and instant water. When the watering is done, we turn off the water. That's it. I think the vegetables get the water they need this way. I'm notorious for leaving the hose out, so either I would shy away from watering, or leave the hose out on the lawn. BTW, Hubby hates the hose being left on the lawn. He always puts it away for me, without complaint. What a great guy! But, he wanted it to be easier for me to water the garden, so therefore the garden hose running along the fence. Great thing is, when the plants start growing, you can't see the hose anymore. Brilliant! This year it was installed early, that means no crushed plants. Yippee!!!

Well, soon enough it will be time to head outside and have some fun with plants and what ever else we can get our hands on outside. I just can't wait to go outside and play in the dirt!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Simple Easter Decor

With Easter right around the corner, thought it was time to decorate the house. Not really, but I did want it to be a little festive. There are a few holidays that I don't go all out for, Easter is one of them. The significance of the day is not really about eggs and bunnies. I associate the Easter egg decorations with children, fun, and the beginning of spring. So, with that thought in mind, and I do have children, not little children, but still children, and a wonderful grandson. Must add a bit of fun for everyone. Even when the kids seem like they don't even notice anything you do, they really do. Any ways, my idea of decorations this year? Very egg-y. Eggs everywhere. Remember the glittered eggs? Of course you do.

Glittered Eggs. I wish they were candy.

They look so pretty with the different lighting during different parts of the day. Pretty. Pretty. Pretty.

Jeweled colored eggs. Pretty without the lid too.

These eggs were made last year. Styrofoam eggs, some wrapped in white cotton yarn. The others were wrapped with jute, some heavy jute, and some with a thinner jute. They turned out great, Nice and neutral in color. They could be left out all year, but I do put them away after Easter.

Love the container. It's very versatile.

Really fun project to do on a rainy day. Wrap something in jute. It's amazing what you can do with a hot glue gun and jute (or yarn).

Added some moss to the bottom, gives it some depth and color.

Another find at Hobby Lobby a few years ago, egg baskets. How stinkin' cute is that? I have two, the other is larger, and it is very useful. Okay, I don't have a chicken coop, so I don't really use it to bring eggs into the house, but I do use it for other things, and decorations.

Fake eggs, of course, but really cute and simple.

Another one of those versatile containers that can be dressed up over and over again, it's great. I might have to find pictures of the different ways I've decorated these. But I'm so used to it, sometimes I don't even take pictures once they are decorated. Note to self: always take pics.

Love the little nest and moss at the bottom.

The tops of these candle holders are removable, and can be used alone as tealight or votive holders. It's nice to keep them all different, but with the same theme if they are grouped together.

A little decoration goes a long way.

These took about 5 minutes to put together. I was really trying to keep it simple this year. If I have to fuss to much with it, then it's just not worth it, right now. We've been busy.

The egg cup is adorable, it came in a set of four.

Every year I try to make sure that I display this little ceramic basket. My MIL gave this to us quite a few years ago. She didn't want it, but I don't think she had the heart to throw it away or donate it. She took a ceramics class years and years ago, well over 20 years have passed since she made this basket. Her name is inscribed in the bottom as well. The handle was cracked on one side when we got it, so we repaired it and gave it new life. She gets so tickled every time she comes over and sees it being used.
Another simple and adorable decoration. The tiny plastic eggs were from last year, I bought them and never used them for anything. By the way, they look a little like candy, beware. I had the moss, nest, and eggs in my craft stash.

Another 5 minute decoration. Simplicity is key.
This one took a little longer, because I had to dig out my cricut machine. Going to the store to purchase a stencil sounded like too much work. Using the cartridge that was left in the cricut, I printed "Happy Easter" in 1 inch letters and then used the cut out as a stencil. Worked out beautifully, even though I had to stick the little inner piece of paper to the inside of the "P"s, "A"s, and the "R".  It really was very easy. Of course, I still have burlap sitting around, remember the lampshade projects? Cut an 8in x 10in piece of burlap and stenciled "Happy Easter" using black acrylic paint from my paint stash. The eggs and ribbon are on the outside of the glass. Cutie.

On the mantle. Fresh and serene.

Every room should have a plant. Yes, every room. Be careful if you have pets. Know your pets and know your plants. Some plants are very poisonous to pets, trust me, I found this out the hard way about two years ago. I was given an Easter Lily as a gift two years ago, and had a cat that loved to eat anything green. Honestly, never seen a cat that at so many plants. Let's just say, cats and Easter Lilies, bad idea. Really bad idea. She was a great cat. I still get sad when I think of her.

It's a healthy plant, longing for the spring like the rest of us.

Remember the glittered candle? Yes, it sits on the mantle as well. It's super sparkly in the sunshine, really brightens the place up.

Yeah for simplicity.

Here's an adorable wreath that I made about a year ago. The only thing I did was walk by it and put two eggs on the same hook. It always has that light green ribbon on it. Yup. Just put a couple of eggs on the hook. Wow, that was the most labor intensive decorating....ever. I think a nap is in order.

Green wreath with eggs. Note the cracks on the green egg. Perfection.
Well, it was fun. And really easy decorating this year. Love it! Not too much, but enough that it feels like spring is right around the corner. Today is the first day of spring? I think so. Doesn't feel like it, there's snow and lots of wind outside. It's cold!! But the little signs of Easter in the house make it better, because spring can't be far away now.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Glitter Eggs

Easter is just around the corner. Aaahhhhh! That means spring is close at hand, as well. Yippee!!!! The house didn't look too spring like inside, still had that same snuggled in winter feel to it, not to mention the pine garland on the mantle that my husband loves so much. Ok, I had been wondering how to add some Easter-like decorations, without having it look just like it did last year. It's nice to change things up and keep it fresh. Looking through one of my favorite catalogs, Pottery Barn, I spied some cute glittered eggs, in muted colors. Darling, expensive, and muted colors. Hmmmm. I liked one of the three, darling. That was it. Our little house doesn't get enough sunlight, especially this time of year, to pull off the muted decorations, without making the area feel drab. I need to have a little pop of color here and there. You know the drill, just make it yourself. Of course this called for a trip to (drum roll please), Hobby Lobby, a.k.a., the Land of Somuchpretty. 

Fortunately, the only thing that I needed for this project was styrofoam eggs. And because the people that work at the store must have known that I was on my way, because they were on sale for 40% off. Bonus!!!! So, for about $6, I could make 12 glittered eggs, as opposed to $16.50 for 3 eggs, now on sale for $12.99. Yeah, it just doesn't make sense. Oh well. 

Time to get to work by gathering the eggs, Mod Podge, toothpicks, a floral foam brick, a paint brush, and glitter. Oh, and of course something to cover the table surface. Glitter is a bear to clean up. I used newspaper, so I could just shake the glitter out in the outside trash bin, and put the newspaper in the recycling bin.

Stick one toothpick in the end of each egg. This is very helpful, you have something to hold on to and won't get glue and glitter all over you hands. Work with one egg at a time, from glue to glitter, then go on to the next eggs. You wouldn't want your glue to dry while trying to put glue on all of your eggs.

Foam eggs, with toothpicks in the bottom as a handle to hold on to.
Using a medium sized, craft paint brush, put Mod Podge all over the surface of the egg. Ok, I actually found that the sloppier I was at this stage, the better the eggs turned out at the end. In other words, neatness is not a real factor at this stage, but use a good amount of the Mod Podge.

Mod Podge. Great stuff, and it seems to last a long time. A lot of projects in one bottle.
Lots of different color glitters from my stash of craft goodies in the basement. Purchased these 2 years ago to make some cards, and it's just been sitting there, taking up valuable space. The colors are so pretty.

An assortment of colored glitter.

Use the floral foam brick as a drying area for the eggs, after applying the glue and the glitter. Just stick the toothpick in the foam, and you don't have to worry about smudging your eggs, or having them stick to anything.

"Drying Rack" for the eggs. There's a lot you can do with floral foam.

After gluing and glittering the eggs, this is what I had. The toothpicks are a great help, as is the floral foam. I think they turned out great.

Pretty eggs. 

This was a fun project, and it was very easy and quick. I just can't argue with either of those qualities in a project.

The egg on the end was the first one done, and I was being way too neat, the glue was a bit streaky.

They really do look pretty in the sunlight and add a big pop of color. I could have easily done one or two colors only, but I just couldn't decide, so I did 12 different colors.

Pretty. Pretty. Shiny. Shiny.
After letting them dry for a few hours, I put them in this dish. It' actually a candy dish, but it's rather large, all 12 eggs are in the dish. Cute as can be.

This really brightens up a corner in the room.

 The glitter fever did hit me, and I glittered a candle as well. It was an old candle in the emergency kit, really ugly and old, and's beautiful. Yes, another idea from Pottery Barn. You got it, they had a glittered candle also. I wasn't in the mood for silver, or the chunkier glitter. I did a chunky glitter project during Christmas, but I loved the gold/bronze color of this particular glitter. It has no specific season. Beautiful!! No, I won't display it on that oh so chic, paper plate.

All that glitters is not gold.

So, it was fun, easy, economical, and quick. Just what you want when time is short and you want to add a pop of color to a room. Grab something, get the glue and glitter and you're on your way. Just don't grab your dog. I can only imagine that it just wouldn't be a very pretty situation.

Go enjoy the cold weather for a little while longer, spring is almost here.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Tin Pail Makeover

March is here and it almost smells like spring outside. Almost, not quite. Still have to get past the patches of snow on the ground, but they should be gone by tomorrow. The planting beds are clear of snow and the plants that aren't cut back in the fall are visible. Pitiful looking, but visible. This time of year I find myself looking at pictures of the yard from previous years, and I came across a little project that I did last May. The Corona tin pail that was collecting dust on a shelf in the garage needed a purpose. It was a very thoughtful gift to my husband from a friend of mine. She gave it to TM because she didn't want him to feel left out at the time of my bridal shower, some 5 to 6 years ago. Very sweet of her. It was filled with 4 really nice pint size glasses. The glasses are tucked away in TM's man cave, a.k.a. the garage. The pail just sat on the shelf. 

I wanted to use it in the yard, with the other old tin pail that is used for collecting clippings while walking through the yard. But it needed a makeover!!!! Corona is fine, but it's not pretty at all, or even cute. This is what it looked like after I was finished. Horrible lighting.

Go play in the dirt.

The pail needed a chalkboard area. That was my plan, a rectangle of chalkboard paint on each side of the pail, covering the logo and words. No problem. Right?

The wonderful Corona pail. Not real pretty for the garden.

Searched the garage for supplies: Sandpaper, chalkboard spray paint, and painter's tape. Great, we had all three. And of course newspaper to protect the area. Things were going better than I had hoped.

Supplies needed: sandpaper, chalkboard spray paint, and painter's paint.

Taped off the pail, leaving the area that I wanted to sand and paint. Easy as pie! It went pretty quickly also.

Tape the surfaces you don't want painted. Make sure you get all of the surfaces.

And here is where the mistake was made. See all that open area on the side of the pail? No tape or covering. Have you ever heard of the term "over spray"? I had, on lots of occasions. But did I think about it at the time? Of course not. Too busy going full steam ahead and not planning or thinking the project through before I started. This did come back to haunt me, in a big way.

Spray paint does spray in a wider area than you want, cover all surfaces you don't want painted.

Not thinking about the "over spray", I sanded the pail and got the spray paint. Painted with the ease of someone who has done this before. Let it dry for a few hours, sprayed a second coat and let that dry for a few hours. Just as pleased as punch with myself, and tickled that it was so easy. Then.....I removed the tape. See the sides in the above picture? Yeah.....they had lots of over spray. Lots of over spray. Again, lots of over spray. Not solid, but extremely noticeable and dark. Dang it!!!! After pondering for a while, a trip to the craft store was in order. I purchased a pack of peace sign stickers for about $1, on sale, and went home. 

Scuff the surfaces to prepare for painting. The paint will adhere better than it will on smooth surfaces.

Spent a little more time sanding the rest of the pail, really just scuffing the surface so the paint sticks. Placed a few of the stickers on the pail, then proceeded to spray paint the entire pail, spraying over the stickers as well. You know the drill, I had to let it dry, then apply a second coat. Okay. So after it was dry, I used a stick pin to lift just a small piece of the edge of the sticker, and very slowly removed the stickers so as not to peel off any paint. It actually turned out pretty well.

Cute little peace signs on the can made it more interesting.

Following the directions on the spray paint can, it needed to dry for 24 hours, then chalk had to be rubbed all over the surface, then wiped off. Not difficult at all.

This is a great time to be messy. Just have fun, get messy.

Pardon the terrible lighting, but here is the finished product. After using it all of last summer, it looked better at the end of the summer than it did in the beginning. It was a little more weathered by the end of the summer. It works great, like a pail. We all had fun writing various messages and drawing various pictures on it during the summer months. By the way, if you have teenage sons, you might want to hide the chalk.

All done! It turned out well.

This turned out better than I thought it would, after having made the mistake of not covering all the surfaces that I didn't want paint on. But as with any mistake, it's a learning experience, now I know what to do and what not to do next time I take on a project like this one: Think the project through to the end, before starting, and cover all of the surfaces that I don't want to get paint on. Simple enough.

It's really starting to feel like spring is just around the corner. I'm so excited. That means that soon....I will be able to......GO PLAY IN THE DIRT!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yippee!!!