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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Super Saturday Craft Day

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One of my favorite things to do this time of year is to help organize a “Super Saturday” at my church.  Super Saturday is a day where the women from church and their friends, family, neighbors…can come together and craft.  This event is always in November so we can make holiday decorations as well as inexpensive gifts for Christmas giving.  I just thought that I would share what we are doing this year:

This Snowman/Scarecrow craft was requested by someone who had seen a similar craft online using planks.   As you can see, this craft is reversible, making it possible to have it out from October through January.  Love that!  I will do a tutorial on this soon.  Promise!  ***UPDATE: Here is the tutorial***

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This 2 minute craft  is great for display as well as for holding a plate of holiday goodies.  It is as simple as removing the backing from the vinyl sticker that I cut with my Roland Dr. Stika machine, placing the sticker and rubbing it to smooth it out, then removing the masking layer.  Easy peasy!  I love how simplistic it looks.

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I found some little wood boxes that I thought would make perfect little chalkboards.  Before Super Saturday, I will paint the boxes white.  That day we will add a vinyl frame to use as a stencil.  After painting with chalkboard paint and letting it dry (we always use hair dryers at Super Saturday to speed up the drying process!), we will remove the frame vinyl to expose the white below.  I’m also going to do a quick demo about how to easily “write” on chalkboards.  I love that this little guy can stay up year round.  I love, love, love chalkboards and the fact that “art” can change in a matter of seconds.

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We are also going to do a demo of how to make a 5 minute pillow cover.  Soooo easy!  Here is a great video tutorial to show you how it’s done and here is one of the many pillows that I have made this way:

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Lastly, here is a craft that I patterned off of one that my friend found online and loved.  I made sure to use an image that is copyright free of the LDS Salt Lake Temple spires.  We will decoupage that as well as the saying, “Families are Forever”.  This idea can be used in a thousand different ways, using different pics (pics of children and grandchildren, family home…) and sayings.  I drilled tiny holes in each corner of the word wood so I could easily insert little brads for added detail.  I also drilled a couple of larger holes on the top for the ribbon to go in and, BAM! it’s a fabulous item to hang in your own home or to give as a gift.

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I’m so excited for this Super Saturday event…I can hardly wait!  It is so much fun to turn on the Christmas tunes and work and laugh and craft with friends.

Do you participate in a similar crafting event?   If you are not aware of a similar event around you, why don’t YOU get one started?  Grab your friends and family and get crafting!  You just might end up with some pretty cool stuff and warm memories as a result.

 

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Autumn Colors: Peacock and Pumpkin

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As of last month, I have a new favorite fall color combination:

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I came across it by fluke, really.  First I purchased this shower curtain

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I bought it for $10 at Ross with the intention of turning it into decorative pillow covers, but I threw it over my dining room table to get out the wrinkles and it morphed into my new table cloth instead.  I must say that L*O*V*E it. The above pic reflects its true color.  I call it Peacock Blue. I wish that all of my pics reflected this color correctly, because, sadly they don’t.  I’m not sure why.  Hmm.  Anyway…when I brought my Fall décor in and threw my regular Autumn flower pot in the center of the table…magic happened.

Peacock and Orange

I admit that I had to manipulate the hue in order to get the true Peacock Blue for the above image.  It looks a bit oranger than it should.  But I still love the color combo.  More pics

Peacock Blue and Pumpkin Pie Orange…my new favorite Autumn color duo.

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What colors are you crushing on this Fall?

 

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Textured Wooden Pumpkin

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Fall is in the air…isn’t that exciting?  Around here, that means that we are no longer having triple digit temperatures.  Woo hoo!  With daytime highs of less than 85 degrees and night time lows in the 50’s, I’m in the mood for everything Autumn.  The other day I got the hankering to just make something new to add to my Fall decorating.  I gave myself a challenge.  Do you ever do that?  My challenge was that I would use materials that I already own and create something I’ve never seen before.  Here is what I decided to work with:

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Some stained old textured wallpaper and 3 scrap pieces of 2×4 left over from a garage shelving project.  Are you inspired?  I was.  Wanna see what I made?

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Turned out okay, don’t you think?  I happen to love it!  Would you like to see how I made it?  Alright.  Here we go:

Textured Wood Pumpkin collage

First step, I cut out the textured wallpaper.  I wanted a continuous pattern so I traced around the 2×4’s, stacked vertically, on the back side of the wallpaper.  After cutting out the wallpaper, I glued a strip down on each of the 2×4’s using regular white glue.  Easy.  To make sure that it didn’t bubble, I stacked them up and weighed them down with books.  As the glue dried I made up a pattern.  Kind of.  I’m not an artist so I went to the computer and found a basic pumpkin template.  I printed it out then cut the image in 4 pieces so I could stretch it out to make a larger size.  After taping it down to a large sheet of (pieced together) paper, I drew in my own lines.  Next step, I cut out the paper template and then transferred the pumpkin shape to my textured wallpaper 2×4’s, again making sure that the pattern was continuous.

After cutting the individual pieces out, I sanded random dents in the edges to make them more rounded and textured. See?

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I wanted the pumpkins to look nice and finished and not thrown together so I made sure to “caulk” the edges with spackling.

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See how much better the spackled part looks?

I chose to paint my pumpkin a nice white, but orange, black, aqua or teal would be equally nice.  I had originally painted mine black with the intention of sanding the edges to allow the black to show through, but ended up liking the white, un-distressed look.

My stalk is a cut piece of a branch from a tree in my yard.  If wishes were fishes, I would have made it longer, but by the time that I decided that, the darn thing was too attached to remove.

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Once the paint dried, I assembled the pieces:

A few twist of baling wire forms the tendrils.  I also added some silk leaves and some natural raffia…

And, there you have it… a finished pumpkin.

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I’m kind of liking my new pumpkin.  What do you think?

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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?

 

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Orchids: Silk versus Real

Orchids 3

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?

 

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2 Minute DIY: From Tank Top to Framed Art

Framed Flag Art

Got an extra 2 minutes?  It’s time for some lightning speed DIY!

We have all heard it said that sometimes you’ve got to think outside the box.  True in so many ways, including home décor.  Case in point, this black tank top with a cool metallic gold American Flag detail:

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I added the frame in this pic as a clue to my “out of the box” idea.  Are you thinking what I’m thinking?  Of course you are, you smartie!

This tank was a child’s size that I got at my local thrift store in one of those “as much as you can shove in a bag for $5” sales.  I love those.   I can shove a LOT in a bag.  I have seen similar tank tops in my days of perusing thrift stores and garage sales.  My guess is that if you frequent these cheapo shopping venues, you are sure to run across frame-worthy art, as well.

You will notice that my frame in the above pic is black.  I just applied a couple of coats of off-white paint and scraped off bits when it was still a bit damp to reveal the black beneath.  FYI: I am not going to count that in my 2 minute (see my title) time frame.  My blog, my rules!  My thought is that you may already have a frame that you love that you don’t need to paint.  2 minutes:  Ready?  Begin!

Take apart the frame and use the glass (carefully) as your pattern to center your tshirt art.  Trace around it with a pencil, pen, whatever (a white colored pencil works great on black), then cut it out.  At this point you can just discard the glass, or keep it.  Your choice.  I tossed mine.  Now, just adhere the fabric to the cardboard back of the frame, making sure that it looks centered in the frame.  I used spray adhesive, but you can tape the edges down or in all honesty, you can just center it on the cardboard backing,

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…then stick it in the frame.  Voila!

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Makes me feel patriotic, just looking at it!  So, what are YOU going to frame as art?

 

 

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Thanks, to Brenna from Life After Laundry for picking this project as her favorite for Tips & Tricks week 10!  Another big “Thanks!” goes to Nemcsok Farms and Witty Hoots for picking this project/post as a Frugal Family Linky favorite!