Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Autumn on Our Acreage

This time of year, I know we are truly blessed to live on such a beautiful acre in the center of the city. Backing onto a steep, wooded ravine with a small creek running through it, our slice of heaven provides all the texture, color and crunch autumn has to offer.

No other explanation necessary. Sit back and enjoy the view.

Make it a great day!
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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!