Christmas Home Tour 2015

I guess that I may as well jump on the blogging bandwagon and post some pics of my holiday home.  They say that a picture is worth a thousand words, so I will mostly let the pictures do the talking.

My Front Porch:

Christmas front porch santa foil wreath

Front Entry and Living Room

Pool Table Room/Library:

Kitchen and Dining Rooms:

Family Room:

 

Well, that about sums it up.   Thanks so much for stopping by!  I would love to offer you a nice hot cup of cocoa, but, well…you know.  You will have to really stop by my home for that to happen.  Until then, Merry Christmas to you and your family!

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Concrete Look Dollar Store Pumpkins

If you have been in pretty much any dollar store in the last month or so you have likely seen lots of bright orange light-weight pumpkins.  El cheapo looking pumpkins.  But, for some reason, they inspired me in a big way.  I bought a couple of them and before I had even gotten out of the store, I knew what I wanted to do with them.  Happily enough, they turned out exactly how I envisioned them!

Concrete Pumpkin

I love them!  The process, once I figured it out was quite easy.  It took some trial and error, so to help you avoid all that, I will show you the easy way to make these concrete look pumpkins.  First, though, my base ingredients:

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I had noticed this half used bag of thin-set mortar in our garage recently and wondered what a person actually does with it once the tile job is done.  The trial and error portion of my project consisted of just mixing water with the thin-set mix and painting it on.   Not wanting to use a nice bowl to mix the stuff in, I cut down a gallon sized milk container.  The handle made it really easy to hold while I stirred.  I used the top part for my scoop.  See what it looked like after one coat:

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Too transparent for the look that I was going for so I made some changes to my thin-set mix.  First I added some white paint and then decided to add some Plaster of Paris powder, as well.  I didn’t have any specific recipe, just added until it was the consistency of pancake batter.  A couple more coats (let it dry completely first) and this is what they looked like:WP_20151106_008

As you can see, I added some short twigs to make stems for my pumpkins.  At first I added a silk leaf to the top, but removed it because I liked the starker look.  Can I just say that I’m loving the white pumpkin look this year?  Truth be told, however, these could be made in any color… of course your paint color will dictate that.  It would be fun to make gray or peacock blue or black concrete pumpkins, don’t you think?

White and chic pumpkin
White and chic pumpkin
White pumpkins!
White pumpkins!

Since these pumpkins are made of Styrofoam, they can be easily pierced on the bottom and place on a candlestick that has a “nail” for holding candles in place:

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Isn’t it amazing how just a few items found in most garages can make el cheapo look high end?  I’m loving my new pumpkins and plan to make several more in different sizes next year.

So, what do you think?  Are you still there, or are you grabbing the car keys and heading to your local dollar store to buy some pumpkins?

 

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I was FEATURED!  What an honor!

Great Ideas — 18 DIY Thanksgiving Ideas Part Two!

 

Welcome to 31 Days

 

Easy DIY: Distressed Metal Art

Chippy Metal Art

Check out this awesome piece of metal art that I bought 4 years ago at Ross.

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I thought that the design was okay-ish and the size, awesome (3 feet by 3 feet),  but above all, I loved the price:

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7 bucks?  That, I can do! I’m thinking that it was discounted because it was kind of scraped up in a few places…

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…which is ok since I didn’t like the finish on it anyway.  So after moving it from place to place in my garage for the past 4 years, it got some attention today, and I LOVE it!

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Wanna see how I did this uber-easy project?  Of course you do!  First I grabbed a can of black spray paint and mainly focused on painting the edges and raised portions:

Sorry, the dappled sunlight makes it kind of hard to see, but if you look at the upper left corner of the above pic, you can kind of see the black edges which will be visible once the piece is distressed.   Next, came two coats of a semi-gloss white paint:

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Of course I could have called it “Done” at this point if I was going for a clean modern look, but I wanted to take it a step further and distress it up a little to highlight some of the details.  Of course that is why I painted it black in the first place.

***Very Important*** If you plan to do a similar project, spray the top coats with only a short time between coats and distress while the paint is still a bit tacky.  They make spray paint so well these days that it dries to form a really tough surface, which is really what we want, right?  SO, if you are distressing spray paint, you have just a short window of time to accomplish that task.  Even though the distressing process took me about 10 minutes, I could tell a big difference between how easy it was when I started, compared to when I was finished.  Work fast, ok?  If, heaven forbid, you miss that window of time, you can try using some fingernail polish remover and a Q-tip like I did with my metal star project.   Just make sure that you change Q-tips often to avoid a smudgey look.  Got it?  Good!

Now, do you want to see my high-tech distressing tool?  Of course you do:

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Let me be honest:  I started out by using my thumbnail and realized that I would likely wear it away to nothing so I figured that a plastic spoon would do the trick and it did.  Sometimes I scraped away with the spoon part…

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…and sometimes I used the handle to cover more area at a time…

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Here is the finished project…

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…which I LOVE!!!  With the new finish, it is no longer “okay-ish”, it is fabulous.  I thought that I knew exactly where I was going to place this baby, up high in my dining room, but now I want it more front and center.   Hmmm.  The easy part was re-creating this piece.  The hard part is deciding where to put it:

What do you think?  Where should it go?

 

Yep, I can honestly say that I love this piece.  Love!   So, do you have something hidden away in YOUR garage that could use a couple of coats of paint and a spoon?

 

********* Linking up to these awesome parties!*********

 

 

 

Updated Metal Star

Once upon earlier this morning, I had a metal star that looked like this:

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I bought this 28 inch metal star at a garage sale about 5 years ago for $1.  Loved the price, but I wasn’t crazy about the finish.  Still, I slapped it up on my wall and forgot all about it.   It was up high enough that the unfortunate color and scraped-off paint didn’t really look too bad against the beige wall it was hanging on.  As you may or may not know, I’m going gray in my house.  The metal star came down so the gray paint could go up.

I will give you a preview of what this star looks like now:

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Kind of looks like something that you would see in the aisles of Hobby Lobby, doesn’t it?   Do you wanna know how I got this look?  So easy!  First I spray painted the whole thing black and once that dried, I sprayed on 2 coats of a nice shade of aqua:

I tell you, spray paint these days dries so fast.  Of course, the reason that I painted the star black in the first place is because I wanted to be able to distress it and have black showing through the aqua.  You already knew that, right?

To distress projects that I paint with water-based paints, I usually rub the areas that I want exposed with a damp rag or scrubbing sponge, but water really didn’t have the same effect with spray paint.  I ended up going with pure acetate nail polish remover.  I messed around using the scrubbing sponge…

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…but ended up liking the look achieved by using Q-tips and cotton balls the best.  As the acetone hits the paint, it tends to smear the black beneath into the top coat so I messed around with that a bit :

Here’s some practical advice:  be smart and wear gloves.  Trust me on this one.

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After re-spraying the portions that I over-distressed (which was way easier than I thought it would be) I favored using the Q-tips.  Be prepared to use a lot of Q-tips to avoid a smeary look.  Really, it is so super easy.

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Perched on the same screw that it originally hung from, my updated star really shines.  Never to be ignored or forgotten again.  I must say that I L*O*V*E the finished project.

Updated Metal Star

What do you think?

 

********* Linking up to these awesome parties!*********

 

 

Orchids: Silk versus Real

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How do you feel about silk plants?  Are you a purist who will only allow fresh flowers in your home?  Do you frequent the silk flower section at Michaels, Hobby Lobby or Dollar Tree?  Or, are you perhaps somewhere in between?  I place myself in the latter category and in just a minute,  I will show you why.  Before I do, I wanted to show you an article that I found from Architectural Magazine.  Let me quote just a little,

“Mention fake plants to most people and the response will be outrage—artificial flora is a soulless simulacrum, they moan, a horticultural travesty, and just plain tacky. John Updike, the novelist, called them an “obscene mockery”.  Yet no less a design authority than Mario Buatta swears by potted silk orchids, saying they look like the real thing and are godsend for clients who travel so frequently they can’t keep real ones alive.”

I couldn’t agree more.  Case in point?  This little natural beauty:

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Stunning, isn’t it?  Ahem.  Actually it looked great for about 2 months I would say.  I made sure that I didn’t water it too much.  I made sure that no water ever touched the leaves.  I made sure that it wasn’t in direct sunlight, yadda, yadda, yadda.  I was quite proud of my little orchid and of my apparent green thumb.  But, like all good things, the blooms came to an end.  I was left with just that one little bloom.  After some research I learned that if I continued to care for the “plant” with just the right amount of watering, right placement, etc. it could bloom again!  In about a year.  Hmmmph.   The phrase, “Ain’t nobody got time for that!” comes to mind.   Into the trash it went.

And check out the orchid that I have had for almost 10 years:

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It is still as beautiful as the day that I bought it.  The only upkeep is a light leaf-dusting every couple of months.  The only thing that I have changed is the pot color.  Teal spray paint with a bit of Minwax Ebony stain to age it.

Here is my mom’s fake orchid:

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It’s a beauty, isn’t it?  It has been looking this fabulous for 3 or 4 years now.  When my sister gave her the orchid, she started messing with the branches to reshape them, and Mom finally said, “I’m afraid that you are going to break it.”  My sister then answered, “Mom, you do know that this is fake, right?”  She didn’t.

Which makes my point perfectly.  Is it really such a travesty to have fake plants, in this case orchids, if they can forever be in bloom, looking vivid and fabulous?  My answer?  An emphatic “No!”  Of course I do still love real flowers, as well.   I’m pretty well-rounded that way.

Orchids Real Fake

So, what do you think?  Are silk plants/flowers allowed in YOUR home?

 

********* Linking up to these awesome parties!*********

 

Raid Your Yard: Lovely in Lavender

LovelyLavender

What is growing in your yard right this very minute?  If you don’t know, run and look.  I’ll wait.  At this spring time of year it seems like everything is in bloom and looking beautiful.

Here are some areas in my yard that I am absolutely loving right now:

Today I decided to get all Martha Stewart-like and bring some of my outdoors…indoors.  Some people like to gather a bit of every kind of flower that they have in bloom and put them in a vase.  Me?  I prefer only one type of flower in each arrangement.  That’s just me, though.  I decided to gather lavender since we have absolute TONS of it in our landscaping.

Lavendar
Lavendar

Let me share a story that I always think of whenever I see lavender:  My friend was wearing the color lavender when she was approached by a guy who, in what must have been his best “designer guy” impression, said to her, “You look lahv-ly in lah-vender.”  Cracks me up every time.  Just trust me when I say that this stuff is buzzing with bees.  Buzzzzing like crazy

Since we have absolute oodles of lavender, I decided to make a few arrangements with items that we already have on hand.  Ready to see?

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I think that this is an actual Martha Stewart pitcher.  I like it.  I like it a lot.

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This is a tall, modern vase that I like to keep in my kitchen window above the sink.

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This funky, modern looking vase was purchased at Michaels a couple of years ago.  My daughter likes to keep it in her room.

And lastly, this one:

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Just a simple jar that everyone, and their neighbor’s dog, has.  A drop of blue and a tiny drop of yellow food coloring makes the perfect aqua water.  A touch of raffia completes the look.

I’m loving having the outdoors, indoors today!  Four new arrangements and it didn’t cost me a dime.  Love that, too!  My home is lovely in lavender.  (Snicker!)

Now, why don’t you grab some scissors and a vase and go raid YOUR yard!  I promise you will be glad you did! (Just watch out for bees!)

 

(Check out the Link Parties that I like to link at)

Recycled Jeans Satchel

 

At this very moment, do you have any jeans in your home that really should be in the trash?  I’m talking holey, stained, terribly out of style jeans that you know will never be worn again?   I recently came across some jeans destined for landfill and I decided to check out Pinterest (of course!) to see what I could make with them instead.  Although I found some really fun projects, I didn’t see anything that screamed, “Make me!”.   Not knowing what I was going to make, I started cutting and this is what I ended up with.

Recycled Jeans Satchel

I kind of love them!  Think of it as a satchel for putting your phone, lipstick, or whatever you need, in.   Do you ever find yourself wearing an outfit that doesn’t have pockets?  Maybe a dress, skirt, yoga pants?  It’s kind of a pain.  Make one of these simple satchels and you won’t need to carry your stuff in your hands or have a full on purse when you really don’t need it.  Ready?  Set?  Go!

First step, cut off the pockets.  Easy!  Cut only the bottom layer (not the finished pocket edges) and leave a bit of fabric on the top.

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Flip it over and hot glue the top edge down so you can have a finished-looking front.  Back doesn’t look too bad, either.

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For the flowers I did an internet search for “flower template”.  Here are the two that I used: 4-petal-heart-template and Flower-Pot-Card-Template.  It is best to have at least 3 different sizes, so I had to do some re-sizing in Word.  Once you have a paper pattern, cut it, then trace it on your fabric,

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then cut out the fabric.  Might as well cut out two layers at a time, right?   I wanted the denim to looked a bit frayed,  so I just scraped the fabric edges with my fingernail to get that effect.

To assemble the flower, grab some thread, a needle and a button and sew the button through all of the layers…or…hot glue each layer and add the button to the top.  Then just hot glue the flower to the pocket.   Play around with positioning before gluing.

For the strap, cut out the inseam starting up one leg and once you reach the crotch, going down the other leg, then back up and down the other side.  Most, if not all jeans have double stitching for the inseam so just cut near the finished edges on each side of the stitching.  Easy-peasy!

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And this is what you get:

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At this point, determine how long you want your strap to be, cut to size, then hot glue on the back like so:

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Done!  Check it out!

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I have been asked to be in charge of crafts for a young women’s camp this summer and this is definitely one that we will  make.  My goal is to have the girls create items that are useful, not something to shove in the back of a drawer once they get home.   I think that they will like them.

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What do you think?

 

Linking up to these awesome parties!

Nemcsok Farms