Friday, December 28, 2007
Thursday, December 27, 2007
If decorating more rooms that I can count and I can tell you from experience that picking out the linens and fabric first is always the easiest way to go. Home Depot and Lowes are very good about matching any colors you want. Bring them a pillow and they can match it.
The hardest part for me is getting the room to the point where both of us will be happy.....that's not always easy.
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Sunday, December 23, 2007
If you have the retail store Kirklands by you, consider yourself lucky. This is hands down one of my favorite stores ever. I found one at the local mall and most recently one opened only 5 minutes from my house.
They have a great eclectic mix of home decor items that pretty much fit with any decorating style. Their prices are great and their sales even better.
They always have a "scratch and dent" section that has items that are broken or damaged. The wall plaque to the left was found for $5.00. Where you see the black and white photograph was originally a broken mirror. For 5 bucks where can you go wrong?
Take the mirror out, replace with a photo and you have yourself an item that is now in perfect condition.
The best part of this wall plaque is how it has become a conversation piece. Who are all those people in the photograph? Who knows? The photo was picked up at a thrift store for pennies.
I have no idea who all those people are but they definitely are an interesting group of people.
If you have a Kirklands by you, get onto their web site and register your email. They send out coupons every once and a while. I got a 20% coupon a month ago and recently got another 10% coupon for voting on my favorite painting.
I would like to take a moment to wish you all a Merry Christmas. I won't be posting anything for the next two days but I'll be up and running after Christmas. Hope to see all of you come back for a visit.
Thanks to all that have come for a visit.
Christy01 02 12
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Matching The Bathroom......
Every time I decorate a room the most difficult part is to match up the fabric. The stores have a limited selection of items that will eventually tie the room together. Things like pillows, curtains and linens are basically what I'm referring to and I really don't love what I see out there.
I've figured it out now....but it has taken a few years. I just make most of the stuff I need myself. Basic sewing skills and a decent sewing machine is all that's needed. Thank you mom, for teaching me how to sew!
Fabric stores have such an extensive selection of designs to choose from and I can find just about anything that is needed to coordinate a room, but I have to make it myself.
Animals prints have been popular for years and I really enjoy using them. The bathroom above needed an animal print shower curtain. Believe it or not, at the time it was impossible to find in any retail store. Buying the fabric and sewing it up-no problem. It's easy enough for a sewing novice to put together. One large square, hem the sides, hem the top for the shower pole and a hem on the bottom. The valance is made the same way with trim added for an extra touch.
If you truly want your room to have a special touch, making your own curtains will pull it all together and make it your own. I know that I've saved my family thousands of dollars over the years by making my own curtains, pillows and accessories. Trust me-they are easy to put together.
I do look around in the retail stores at curtains but I'm always somewhat shocked by the prices and surprised that only "one" panel comes in a package. Who puts up one panel?
Notice in the top photo the little wicker shelf over the toilet? It was a thrift store find (cost $5.00) that was originally a floor shelf. The feet were cut off and it became a wall shelf. Cute for 5 bucks!
Here is another example of a "home made" shower curtain also with the animal print motif. Take notice of the pole that these curtains hang from. It is a plain wood dowel with twine glued onto it. The curtains obviously do not move over the twine. This was done just for the affect.
The border in this bathroom was useful in two ways: as a wallpaper border and a picture.
As an added creative idea I cut out one piece of the wallpaper and put it into a frame. This hangs in another room (otherwise, too many elephants in one place).
If you can't find what you want out there, consider making it yourself. You will save money and definitely get exactly what you want.01 02 12
Monday, December 17, 2007
This little candle turns on and off manually or shuts off after 6 hours. It sits on a little pewter-like base
The taper is pictured at the top of this post and to the left. I was surprised when I opened these tapers up that the bulbs are made out of soft rubber. That makes sense because if it falls-no break!
Friday, December 14, 2007
I painted the roof by hand to make it look like shingles and made some minor adjustments on the hand painting.
This particular item required very little work on my part. Sometimes you just get lucky!!
Thrift stores can be hit or miss but it's definitely worth the trip sometimes.01 02 12
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
How about an Internet site that shows you all the furniture styles and how they look in a room. I found this site one night while looking around at different furniture combinations. It's very comprehensive and user friendly. A great way to see what's out there. I have not purchased any furniture from this company, but it's is definitely something to think about. The site provides you with a great way to discover what's new in the furniture industry and to visually see rooms already set up with the furniture arranged in it.
They carry extensive lines of designer furniture and also have items on clearance. They claim to give you the best prices out there. So for shopping around, comparing or just getting ideas take a look:
http://www.thefurniturewarehouse.net/group/Dining_Room_Furniture01 02 12
Monday, December 10, 2007
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
Before and After.........
I purchased the clock to the left in a local thrift store for $2.00. It looked a little worn but the clock worked fine and I loved that it had a little storage area below it, so it got a face lift.
I use Modge Podge a lot to cover areas that need help. It's so versatile and you can get very creative with the type of tissue paper that's available.
I selected a plaid tissue for the roof and a plain tan color for the rest of it. As usual I got carried away, glued small tiles around the face of the clock and hand painted a small vine under it.
Admittedly, the clock was sort of cute to begin with, but it really didn't match my house so the choice became clear: change the look entirely.
paint brush (cheap kind at least 1/2 " wide)
Tissue paper, any color of design
- cut 1" x 1" squares of tissue paper. This isn't an exact art so don't worry if the squares are different sizes. Mine are always different in size and sometimes shape.
- Work in small areas at a time. Apply Modge Podge to the small area and then place your tissue on. Smooth the tissue down with more added Modge Podge. Continue until all your area is covered.
- After it drys (it only takes a few minutes), I usually apply another coat of Modge Podge.
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Monday, December 3, 2007
The king size headboard above was purchased at the Goodwill for $5.00!!! It isn't solid brass or anything that was originally a lot of money, but it was in great condition and impossible to pass up. When I first took a look at it I noticed that one of the two ceramic balls on the top was cracked. Since I didn't like them to begin with, I decided to Modge Podge some colored tissue onto them, this changed the color to better match the room and repaired the crack that was in one of them.
- To cover the two ceramic balls I cut many 1"x 1" pieces of tissue (wrapping paper tissue)
- Applied the Modge Podge (Glossy coat) to the the ceramic ball with a paint brush
- Then I applied Modge Podge over the tissue
Modge Podge is a great product to use for covering items that are damaged. It adheres to almost anything. It also comes in several finishes including glossy, satin, sparkle and hardcoat. I've used it on wood, glass and plastic. To find out more visit their site at: http://www.plaidonline.com/apMP.asp#ModPodgeBrandsThis was a great find for a spare bedroom that needed a headboard.
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Friday, November 30, 2007
I just want to thank everyone for visiting my site! I'm glad I could be of some help with the effusion topic. It just happens to be something that I have spent a lot of time researching.
A few people wrote to me and I wanted to address their specific questions.
Marilyn wrote: Ditto what Cathy just wrote! Your instructions ( with pictures!!) are very clear and concise.I think I would like to try this myself and was curious as to which fragrant oils worked best for you, aroma wise. Does it perfume the whole house or is it contained to basically the room its in?Again, thanks for doing such great research!Marilyn
I can tell you this Marilyn: These will smell up the entire house within one hour of lighting. My house is around 3500 square feet. When lite on the main level you can smell it upstairs. I have purchased a number of small bottles of essential oil and fragrance oils. I try to stay away from the dark colored ones because they tend to clog the stone. If I do use them, I dilute them further adding more alcohol to the mix.
I mentioned that I purchased my fragrances from http://www.brambleberry.com/
I ordered from them and was very happy with the oils and also with the delivery, so I am sticking with them. Here is a sample of the type of scents they sell:
Red Apple, Arabian Spice, Sandalwood, Vanilla Pumpkin Spice, Almond, Cranberry, Musk and Woodland Pear....they have plenty more too. Each scent has a full paragraph describing it. It also guides you in what scents are strong and which ones are soft. I suggest you start with a small amount (1 oz) because it's the cheapest. That way if you don't like it, you haven't spent a fortune.
I personally have used:
- Arabian Spice-too spicy for me
- Lemon Verbena-soft, not very strong
- Herbal Essence-just like the shampoo
- Fresh Linen-wonderful and fairly strong
- Beach Breezes-one of my favorites
- Coconut Lemongrass-love this, but it is a dark color and clogs my wick
- Applejack Peel-great around the holidays
- Drakkar-holy cow, it's like filling your entire house with men(Ok, don't know if that's good or bad!)
I'm getting ready to place another order with them. Just read through the descriptions to see what you would want to try.
Kristine wrote: Hi Christy,
Thank you for sharing your experience and recipes! I had never heard of soaking the wick, so am off to do so! I work from home in my basement grooming dogs and I love useing the effusion lamp down there with lavender in it. However it does get expensive buying the oils. So thanks very much!
Kristine: soaking the wick will keep it clean and working well. The stone gets clogged from the oil. Soaking it cleans the oil out of those pores. I have also read that if your wick will not light you can burn pure 91% isopropyl alcohol for a few hours without adding any oil and this will clean the stone out.
Someone from The Garden Web also asked what Lampe Berger is. It's just a "brand" of effusion lamps and oils. She wanted to know if she could burn any other oil in them. The answer is yes, but the company wouldn't advice it. That makes sense for the company. Buy their lamps and buy their oils.
I'm too cheap!
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Thursday, November 29, 2007
I admit it........I am a scent hound. I have spent too much money and time looking for the perfect candle. With two dogs, a cat and three kids I want the house to smell good and that's not always easy. Over the years I have found candles that really have left a delicious aroma in the house. The problem is that they burn out too quickly and when I go to buy another one...................discontinued!
- always use 91% alcohol. NO OTHER % WILL WORK. It has to be!!!!! I buy mine in Walmart for about $1.00
- After you use your lamp and it has cooled off, place the wick into a sealed, small tupperware that is filled with 91% alcohol. Let is soak overnight or longer. I always have two and alternate. One is burning and one is soaking.
- Please be careful with them. Alcohol is flammable. If you have little ones around, place your burner WAY out of their reach. These lamps are very, very safe but like everything else (even candles) use common sense. They should never be knocked over.
- Use good essential oils or fragrance oils in your mixture (I'll show you the link later on in this post).
- Take good care of your wicks. If you don't soak them, they "croak". They are $10.00 a piece and should last between 6-12 months. If they are burning out on you and you can't light them, you are doing something wrong.
- never, never fill your effusion lamp greater then 50%. That's right. Fill it with oil less than half way.
- one effusion lamp is plenty for my house (3500 square feet), I can smell it all the way upstairs. They are great in a basement too.
- Experiment with the oils. Some are very potent and some are not. If it's too strong, add more alcohol.
- I have used many types of wicks. Lampe Berger makes the best!!! Don't waste your money on others, they burn out too fast. These cost around $9.95 and if you put it into a Google seach you'll find plenty out there. I believe I have seen them on Ebay as well.
- They claim there are health benefits to using these lamps. When you consider they burn alcohol (which kills germs) it makes sense. Effusion lamps give off negatively charged ions that kill mold, germs, odor particles and other allergens. One thing for sure, they do not produce soot like candles do.
- Unlike candles, they can be left alone while you are out or sleeping. Wow....that's great. I come home from being out and my house smells wonderful.
- They do have a long history. I'm not going go into that, but if you are curious: http://www.effusionlampsandoils.com/faq.html
- 16 FL OZ. (473) ISOPROPYL ALCOHOL 91% VOL.
- 5 ml OF ESSENTIAL OIL (about a teaspoon)
- 0.5 OZ. OF DISTILLED WATER
Let your lamp burn up all of the fluid and then cap it off.
I've noticed that the longer my mixes are around, the better they get (kind of like fine wine).
Pictured here is an effusion lamp, the diffusion cap, the snuffer cap, the wick with stone attached and a tupperware that holds the wick over night.
Here is a photo of the Lampe Berger wicks that I use.
Below are some of the scents I have used. There are plenty of Internet sites that sell essential oils and fragrance oils. I purchased mine from:
I have used both fragrance and essential oils.
So now you know what to buy, how to put it together (they usually come with directions) and how to take care of the wick.
Now...Directions for use.
- Fill you lamp a little less than half with the oil that you have made.
- Put your wick in. Let it sit in there for 20 minutes to absorb the oil.
- Light it. Let the flame burn (it will burn high up there 5-6 inches)
- Let it burn for 4-6 minutes (don't leave it unattended and be careful where you are lighting it)
- Blow it out
- Place the diffuser cap on it (that gets hot too so be careful)
- leave it and it will scent your entire house
- Let the lamp burn until all the fluid is gone if you want. If the scent is becoming too strong, then use the snuffer cap. This essentially turns it off.
- When it has cooled, pull the wick and place it into the tupperware container that is filled with 91% alcohol. Leave it in there until you want to use it again. Next time you use it, take it out of the container, place into the lamp and light it up.
Occasionally you will go to light up that wick and it won't work. That means that you need to soak you wick longer. When all else fails, take the wick apart and cut off the black part (it looks burned) and put the wick back together. It's a delicate procedure, but it works very well and your wick will be like new.
I'm sure I probably left something out, so if you have any questions please don't hesitate to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or just post a comment on this site.I will gladly answer any questions you may have. These are wonderful lamps to use but as you can see, they do require some knowledge and little work. You will be happy with the results.
I would love to hear back from anyone that has found a really great scent. Maybe we can all share that information.
I wish I could remember the name of the Canadian web site (it was very much like Garden Web) where all the folks gave me such wonderful information about these lamps.
Christy01 02 12
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Floating frames are a simple way to display art work. Basically it's two pieces of glass that sandwich your print, photograph or picture, with a frame around it. The wall you hang it on will show through the perimeter glass. Not fancy, no matts....just your photo.
They are available in many retail stores. The three in the above photograph were purchased in Walmart for $5.00 each. The prints inside came from the clearance aisle for $1.00 each. Total cost $18.00.
What makes these particular frames nice is that they really focus on the art work, not the frame. If you have something you want to highlight, this is a great way to do it.
Although they have a contemporary look to them, old world prints still look fabulous. I've seen them in black, wood tone and white. Remember, if you can't find them in the color you need, paint them the color you want.01 02 12
Sunday, November 25, 2007
My first stop in the thrift store is the aisle with "wood" items. Many people throw away great wood pieces. For the most part wood can be repaired, sanded and painted. This gives you the ability to make your thrift store piece into a real treasure.
The candlestick holder pictured above was a plain, dark wood piece (total cost .50 cents). It was painted with acrylic paints, which was relatively easy because I only painted dots, squares, stripes and a few very small daisies on top.
The final step was to apply several coats of high gloss polyurethane.
If you aren't comfortable hand painting things, there are so many other ways to paint your item.
Here are a few examples: Rustoleum as a great variety of spray finishes.
- Natural rust
- Terra Cotta
Some of these finishes also work great on metal. Just take a good look at the directions and check what finish will work best for what you are painting.
For more information on Rustoleum spray paints check their site at:
Their site includes tons of information. They show you all their products, colors, different finishes and the types surfaces that can be painted.
So many times you will find something in the stores that you like that just won't match your decor. With so many different products on the market now you change the color without changing the item.
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Friday, November 23, 2007
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
It pays to look in the clearance and damaged goods section of your favorite stores. I spotted the chair pictured below on the sidewalk of a Pier One Imports store. Retail price originally around $375.00. Sale price as is: $60.00.
So why would Pier One sell this chair for $60 bucks? Well, it had some minor damage to the front legs, the arms and some of the wicker but nothing that could not be fixed with a little work.
This is what I did to make this $60.00 chair look like a $375.oo chair.
- Sanded lightly all of the wood and concentrated on the damages areas.
- Sanded the small areas of wicker (very carefully) that were damaged.
- Found stain that closely matched the color that was previously on it. Then stained the wood and the wicker.
- Clear coated the entire chair with spray polyurethane to protect it.
It basically had all the same issues as the first one. I did exactly the same in terms of repair. I found the ottoman at Target and stained it to match the chair.
Pay attention to items that are on the sidewalk, clearance or sale area. You never know what they want to get rid of cheap and how easily you can fix something with a little work.
I was very lucky. These two chairs are very beautiful and happened to look great with my decor. It didn't take a lot of work to repair them either.
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Tuesday, November 20, 2007
If you are like me, you love a free sample. I am always surfing around the Internet for companies that are willing to send me something that I don't have to pay for. How often do you buy something, pay good money for it and then don't like it? Isn't it better to get it for free and try it first?
Most of the time to get your free stuff you simply have to fill in your basic information and occasionally fill in a brief survey. Sometimes it is a scam!! You fill in the info and you are asked to sign up for something that is GOING TO COST YOU MONEY.
I stumbled upon this web site this morning. http://freebies4mom.blogspot.com/ Now you don't have to spend hours looking around for samples and weeding through scam.You can subscribe to this site and get frequent updates on what's out there "free".
With many of the free samples the company includes a coupon. So if you like it, you can buy it.......just a little cheaper.
Sign up for your updates from Heather and start getting some free stuff. Think about it: all the money you save on freebies puts more money in your pocket for decorating (oh....and extra money for your gas tank too).
Here's the site: http://freebies4mom.blogspot.com/
Check it out, she has some great offers on there right now.01 02 12
Monday, November 19, 2007
Thrift Store Finds........
Every once and a while you find something really unusual in a thrift store. A few years ago I found these three items at a local thrift shop. I really didn't know what they were when I saw them but I was sure I had exactly the right place to display them at home. They looked old and slightly crooked but I just loved them.
Three other ladies who were shopping at the time, asked me if I was absolutely sure that I would purchase them. They followed me around for quite some time until I convinced them that "they" were coming home with me!
This is where I decided to display them, on top of a cabinet.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
I love to create tabletops. I have several around the house that I will post from time to time. I've used tile, glass mosaics and seashells to decorate the tops.
The first one is this game table that I created for my kids. Both Home Depot and Lowes carry wood "pine rounds". They are reasonably priced and come all sanded.
I found the center of the circle first and then measured out a large square. I then divided the large square into 64 two inch squares (for the chessboard).
I found a pattern for the lizards on a stained glass web site and printed it out. I cut it out of the paper and used it as a template.
I then painted the rest of the table black except for the edges where I used yellow and did a random scallop. I used durable high gloss enamel paint for a sturdy finish.
This was an old kitchen set. I just replaced the existing top with a wood pine round. I spray painted the entire set with a high gloss black. I sprayed the entire table with polyurethane with four coats. The seats I recovered with some discounted fabric I bought at the fabric store.
The kids use it for playing games and for doing homework.
It's bright, functional and fun.
Painting a checkerboard on a table is a great idea. Not only does it look nice but it functions as a game table.
Great for kids and adults. Total cost under $50.00.
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