Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Before and After

I found this wall shelf at a thrift shop. I loved the curvy shape of it and that it had a mirror and a great little shelf perfect for a vase. 

It had a good coat of varnish on it that I had to sand off. This is it after sanding and wiping it down, before painting.

I originally pictured it in white but decided to paint it yellow - something a little different. I like the rustic look to it.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Thanksgiving Decorating

Thanksgiving is right around the corner and I am excited about getting ready for it! I love Fall colors and incorporating them in the home for Thanksgiving festivities is ideal. Here are some of my favorite ideas...

Bring the outdoors in. 
Just go outside and look around at the all that Autumn brings us: pine cones, leaves, twigs, pumpkins... Create a vignette near the door to welcome guests.

Use what you have.
Be creative with what you have. I love this idea of a plant stand holding pots that can display flowers and hold all of your necessities for the big meal.

A statement doesn't have to be made with a lot of work, materials and mess. A row of pumpkins on a mantle definitely says Autumn and is something anyone can do.

Incorporate vintage and antiques that have been in the family. 
Fill vintage candy dishes and glass jars with nuts. Set a row of old dishes across the back of your mantle or a shelf and place Fall colored leaves in front. It gives Thanksgiving and old-fashioned feel and reminds us of family.

Add color. 
We all think of orange when we think of Thanksgiving and Fall, but you could do an all yellow table or all purple. Pick any color or combination of colors you love and gather whatever you can find to create a table that is warm and inviting for your guests.

Remember the meaning. 
Thanksgiving is about being thankful. For me, it always goes back to family and friends. Set out photocopies of pictures of family and friends who will be with you on Thanksgiving and those who cannot. It makes for a great conversation starter.

Think about your centerpiece.
When thinking of decorating for Thanksgiving, a lot of thought goes into the centerpiece since a lot about Thanksgiving revolves around the dinner table. My biggest pet-peeve about centerpieces is when they are too tall, thus making it impossible to converse with the person across the table without standing up. Think about scale and it doesn't have to be a bouquet. I love the simplicity of this idea of stacking tea cups and saucers and accenting with richly-colored roses.
Wishing you and yours a fabulous day of thanks on Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Two Before and Afters

I recently found these little wooden shelves on a trip and loved the shape and the fact that they were a pair. I thought they would look cute staggered on a wall with 1 item on each, like a milk glass vase or small candle holder.

I decided to paint them blue because the shape reminded me of clouds. The strong color would make something like white milk glass really pop.

Now for an indoor/outdoor project... 

I found this rusty old plant stand and thought it was a cute because of the size and the flowers on the sides.

I love rust just as much as the next person (especially outside), but this was not cute rusty. It was "Help me!" rusty. So I scrubbed the rust off, primed with a rust-proof primer, then painted it this light green.

I love how it turned out and that it can be used indoors or outdoors.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Tutorial: Fire Starter

In a desire to save money and do something better for the environment, I researched fire starters for the upcoming winter season. It is getting cold where we live and we're planning to do a lot of fires this winter, but don't want to buy fire starters. So after looking for ideas, here is what I came up with - something that is easy to do using materials you can find in your own home.

- cardboard egg cartons
- parrafin wax (canning wax)
- dryer lint
- mulch (saw dust, dry leaves, tiny sticks)
*Optional: coloring and liquid fragrance

Start by laying out all of your materials, then begin melting the wax on the stove using a double boiler method. I used 2 pans that I already had set aside for wax, but you can also melt the wax in a large tin can in order to save your pans and hold the can with plyers. Be careful not to burn yourself. The wax takes a few minutes to melt. *At this point you can add coloring or fragrance to the wax as desired.

While waiting for the wax to melt (it will take a few min.), fill the compartments of the egg carton(s) with the dryer lint and mulch. The dryer lint is great to top the cups off with because it packs the other materials down well. 

All that is left is the pour the wax into each egg compartment filling them as much as you can. All of the materials you put in the egg carton are highly combustible and burn quickly. The wax slows the burn of the fire starter, giving the wood time to catch fire.

Allow the wax to dry and cool. I recommend setting the cartons on a paper towel on a surface that the wax won't damage if it soaks through. Once cool they are ready to use by simply tearing off one or two of the egg cups to put in the fireplace or fire pit and lighting. If you want it to look nicer or to give as a gift, put 1-2 of the cups in a plain paper sack and tie with cotton string. This entire thing can be put in the fire, so the bag does not have to be opened. 

Be warm and safe!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Clothespins Galore!

Clothespins aren't just for laundry anymore! I started selling wooden clothespins in my shop because there are so many things you can do with them.

I enjoy covering them with pretty paper or vintage maps and then you can attach magnets to them. You can do the same with fabric by simply pre-cutting to the size of the clothespin. This looks really pretty when the clothespin has been painted first.

The creativity of people amazes me. This mirror wreath is perfect for this time of year and could be painted any color or a combination of colors and hung by a ribbon.

Another great idea for the upcoming season is this use in gift-wrapping. I think I may try this one. What's great is that they can be re-used by the recipient.

And who knew clothespins could be an architectural feature? I don't think anyone would know those are clothespins.

Any other ideas you have seen or done?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

A Trip to Mount St. Helens

I have lived in the beautiful, picturesque Pacific Northwest my entire life and can't imagine living somewhere that doesn't surround me with endless green beauty. The beauty is everywhere so I have yet to experience it all. I recently experienced Mount St. Helens which erupted in 1980 and greatly affected a very large area. 

I had no idea the magnitude of that day on the natural surroundings here in the Northwest nor of the resulting understandings for science. 

We traveled about 3 hours from home to see this amazing site. The elevation is so high we were literally driving through clouds! My kids opened their windows hoping to catch some to take home.

Many trees have been planted to begin to reforest the area destroyed. So much has grown back, yet it still appears almost desolate. One can be fined and prosecuted for walking on the land over 5 miles from the volcano because of the delicate growth.

My children enjoyed the trip and learning about the volcano, my mother loved it, and my husband and I enjoyed it. It is a great experience for any age. I am glad we went and am still surprised by how amazing the nature there was considering what we are surrounded with on a daily basis here. 

We stayed in cute cabins just a 30 min. drive from Mt. St. Helens. Even in the cabin area we saw nature unlike what we see at home. 

Deer walked around like there wasn't a human for miles. This picture is not zoomed in. The deer was eating grass less than 5 feet from the road and we stopped and watched him for several minutes.

It was an experience I wish everyone could experience and highly recommend it for anyone who has the opportunity to go.