Thursday, October 16, 2014

Charming Halloween Baskets in 4 Easy Steps

Looking for a simple, inexpensive way to add a bit of Halloween charm to your fall decor?

This summer, I bought up a lot of peat pots of various shapes and sizes at an estate sale. I've made simple peat pot baskets before and have enjoyed incorporating them into vignettes. With my latest acquisition of peat pots, I decided to go with a Halloween theme.

As usual, I forgot to photograph the "in progress." But, I can assure you this project can be completed in 4 easy steps.

Choose the images you want to use and print them on card stock, sized to fit your peat pots. I found my images at The Graphics Fairy.

Paint your peat pot the color of your choice. A light coat of paint works best. Don't worry if the original pot surface peeks through. The charming result is a slightly distressed and rustic appearance. Peat pots are absorbent, so a heavy coat of paint can cause the pot to warp when it dries. 

Adhere your  image to the peat pot with craft glue or Mod Podge. Again, the absorbency of the pot comes into play. It will soak up some of the glue, so cover the back of the image completely with a thick coat. Let the application dry completely before beginning the decorating phase.

Now, embellish, embellish, embellish! I used vintage buttons, paper flowers, glitter, twine, paper doilies, rick rack and vintage lace. Some pots are finished off with rustic, wrapped wire handles and vintage lace from a 1940s wedding dress and filled with Spanish moss. Others are topped with glittery tulle inserts I made from extra wide tulle ribbon.

Make it a great day!
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Saturday, August 2, 2014

Bring a Hankie to the Wedding--Or Picnic

When is a handful of handkerchiefs not just a handful of hankies? When they're a stylish runner fit for the most colorful, casual picnic or the prettiest, most elegant wedding.

Hubby and I are starting to think about retirement and whether to stay in our current home. That means I'm beginning to take stock of all the things I've collected over the years and am starting to thin things out.

I have a large stack of vintage handkerchiefs that I've always wanted to put to good use. This week, I got them all out, gave them a good washing, starched and ironed them and made a couple of runners out of the white ones. I still have dozens in other colors to use on future projects.

Making a handkerchief runner is simple. Lay out the hankies in a pattern you like, using as many as you need for your table, buffet or piano top.

Sew them together by machine or hand, iron and you're set to go!

This runner looks great layered over my grandmother's 60-year-old picnic blanket and an antique French linen table runner I made for my son's wedding. My casual vintage kitchenware is a nice contrast to the elegant simplicity of the pretty hankies.

Either of the runners I made could be used for a dinner party table or a wedding cake table. The simple shades of white and off-white and the pretty embellishments can dress up a country, rustic or cottage chic setting.

I layered this one over a crinkle fabric semi-sheer repurposed window curtain and a different runner from my son's wedding (this one made of antique Belgian linen).

If you want something a little more whimsical, you can string the runners like a banner on a length of pretty ribbon or twine using mini clothespins (available at any craft store).

If you have a nose for vintage hankies, think about these versatile accessories in a new way next time you run across a pile of pretty ones at a sale.

Make it a great day!
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Sunday, July 27, 2014

Quick, Easy Summer Banner

When I recently sorted through my extensive collection of vintage linens to de-stash and make room for all the gorgeous linens I inherited from my mom, I came across a set of eight vintage silk-screened pieces I purchased at an estate sale sale in the early '80s.

I'd always planned to use them to embellish handmade pillows or aprons or to create a table runner. Well, that was nearly 30 years ago!

The silk-screen artist featured Indian Paintbrush, Harebell, Wild Geranium and Brown-Eyed Susan on a linen-like fabric that has dainty fringed edges. One of the pieces has a tag on the back that reads:  Hand Silk Screened by Jeanne Perkins. She signed each of the prints with a "P."

I adore the fresh look a nice, handmade banner can add to living space--indoors or outdoors. These pieces seemed perfect for a pretty spring/summer banner.

Getting good photos of the banner in front of the bright window where I hung it was difficult so I took an outdoor shot to better showcase the vibrant color of the pretty flowers.

I trimmed the banner with a variety of antique and vintage lace and strung the pieces on thick hemp cord.

This simple project only took about an hour to complete.

All in all, a banner hour of my life.

Make it a great day!
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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Succulents Add Simple Charm

Succulents seem to have made a comeback.

My apartment in college was filled with succulents: jade, aloe, burro's tail, hen and chicks, Christmas cactus, kalanchoe . . . That was in the '70s. In moving state to state during the years after college, I betrayed these unassuming natural friends by giving them all away to new homes. I honestly hadn't thought much about succulents since. I was so over that phase.

Until last year, when my now daughter-in-law told me she and my son were incorporating succulents into their wedding bouquets and table arrangements.

They chose a pretty and versatile hen and chicks variety, along with the show-stopping spider agave to create an element of surprise in her stunning bouquet and my son's boutonniere. I was instantly won over once again by the charm of these versatile, fleshy plants.

Have you ever seen a more lovely bouquet?

You might remember my earlier post about the teacups, saucers and teapots I collected for the wedding reception centerpieces. They looked breath-taking on the the tables, filled with lovely flowers and the occasional succulent surprise.

During the reception tear down, I wrapped up a handful of the hen and chicks in wet paper towels, tied them in a plastic grocery bag and carried them home with me on the plane the following day.

I planted them in a variety of vintage aluminum tart cups and molds. They look darling on our dining room window seat.

Hen and chicks are among my favorite succulents. The color of this specific variety is so serene and the mothers propagate plenty of chicks that can be harvested to create new plants. They're easy to take care of (a misting of water every couple of days) and they take direct or diffused sun.

Whether used as home decor, incorporated into wedding bouquets or planted in an outdoor rock garden, succulents are an easy way to add simple charm to any setting.

Make it a great day!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Frolicky Fun or a Sad Story?

That's not a garden statue. After an absence of several years, the fox are back in our neighborhood. A family of four.

We live smack in the middle of the city, but our acre lot backs to a wooded ravine that drops off to a small creek. The wildlife are abundant:  deer, raccoon, woodchuck, turkey, opossum and fox are among the most common varieties.

Year-round, turkeys call our yard home. We've had as many as 23 in the yard at a time. Generally, they visit in groups of four to seven. They scratch up the garden, trample the plants, poop all over the place, lounge under the evergreen trees and chase the ice cream truck. Despite the havoc they wreak on the yard, they're fun and interesting to watch.

A few weeks ago, this young hen proudly, but cautiously, paraded her 10 poults through the yard. We only saw them once.

Not long after we witnessed the tiny turkey parade, the foxes appeared in the neighborhood. Which is why I think we haven't seen the tiny turkeys since. I hate to speculate why they're no longer around.

Earlier this week, while these two foxes played around the yard, the fox in the top photo stood watch.

They tussled and chased each other around playing with a couple of the moulted turkey feathers that are so common in our lawn. They looked like a couple of kittens playing with a spool of yarn.

I'm glad to have the fox around to keep the rabbits out of the garden. But, I hope the young hen and her poults moved to safer territory.

Make it a great day!
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Sunday, June 22, 2014

My New Green Red Glider

For the past 20  years or so, this wicker loveseat has been the centerpiece of our cozy covered porch that overlooks our large back yard. Please pardon the bad photo--it's the only one I could find at  the moment.

When I bought this loveseat at a garage sale, it was probably already 15 or more years old and had seen a significant amount of wear. I never would have dreamed it would have lasted this long. Although, the past couple of years, I prayed each time someone sat on it that they wouldn't fall through to the floor!

Introducing safe seating, a pop of color and an eco-friendly solution.

This wonderful glider is my Mother's Day gift. But, it was back ordered and just arrived this past week. I'm so excited that it's made of recycled plastics and is guaranteed not to fade. It's so comfy while being environmentally responsible.

It allowed me to change up the look of the porch a bit, but it still coordinates with my sweet yellow quilted chair covers. I moved my Swift Premium box, which some of you may remember was on my front porch and am using it as a coffee table.

The Canada Dry crate will be a handy place to set drink bottles and glasses to keep them from being batted around by our black lab's tail. A vintage ice chest with a soft top pairs nicely with the glider and creates an additional seat for guests, when needed.

The globes hanging from the vintage chandelier in the corner glow in the dark. My little neighbor girls really enjoy them.

I'm looking for a new outdoor rug to tie things together a little better. The old rug has seen better days and now seems too small. Didn't have time for shopping this weekend. Next weekend, perhaps.

Now we're gliding in style.

Make it a great day!

Monday, June 16, 2014

What a Sale! Everything 75¢!

Every Saturday morning I head out before 8 a.m. to run my errands:  laundry, P.O box, ATM, etc. Last week, I took a detour to follow a garage sale sign on a whim. Not that that's unusual or anything. It was just an abrupt detour (I did signal my turn, though).

When I pulled up in front, my heart started racing. I could see from the street, I was going to like this sale. Two young women were frantically staging their mostly antique and vintage wares and apologetically told me the sale didn't start for another 15 minutes and they really needed that time for set up.

One of them said, "I hope you wait, or at least come back. Everything is 75 cents today. It's our second and final day."

Wait? For 75-cent vintage goodies? Heck, yes!

I usually go for the "smalls" and this sale had some great ones. I could have loaded up my entire car with great stuff, but I'm trying to cut back with an eye toward downsizing. Sales like this one make that a challenge.

Here is some of my loot.

Teacups: 75 cents for all. They're so sweet.

Mirror tray: 75 cents, chip and all. I use vintage etched mirrors and mirror trays in my decorating year-round. But, at Christmas time, with the twinkle of lights and candles, they create a magical look around the house. I am especially drawn to mirrors with age flaws, such as this one.

Set of five dishes--Mason's Ironstone, England:  75 cents for all. Watch for this pretty vintage set to appear in an outdoor project in the next few weeks.

A lovely 22-kt. gold Royal China Co. plate also will be featured in a future garden project. A real bargain among bargains at 25 cents.

A girl can never have too many silverplate pieces. Fill them with rose petals in the summer, vintage ornaments in the winter or serve fresh berries out of them at a backyard barbecue. This one was totally black with tarnish. It cleaned up beautifully, but I'm waiting for some degree of tarnish to reappear. I like that used, mildly neglected look.

Yep. 75 cents.

And 75 cents for both decks of South African Airways playing cards. I snap up interesting decks whenever I find them to use in my handmade For Giggles and Grins ephemera journals. I'd never come across this set before.

The 75-cent orphan salt shaker is destined to become a handmade decorative tassel.

75-cent Haeger pink dish has a detachable flower frog and built-in candleholder. It's in mint condition. But, I'm not a fan of pink and will probably list this one at some point.

Pretty vintage linen tea towel will look nice in someone's kitchen.

Love this kitschy metal rooster tray from the '50s or '60s. It's in very good vintage condition and was 75 cents, of course.

Wonderful Treasure Island book, copyright 1947, has a colorful illustration on the inside cover and fly sheet and illustrations throughout. This treasure needs a good rubbing alcohol bath and it will be fit for the rental book inventory. 75 cents.

Grand total:  $7.25.

Make it a great day!
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