Friday, December 5, 2008

Taking a short vacation

I have so many things going on right now that I feel it would be best if I take a short break from blogging. Recent minor surgery, the holidays and projects piled up are requiring more time that I thought. Hopefully I'll have everything done and will be back on my feet very soon. Please don't think I've disappeared because I haven't.

You'll hear from me soon.

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Sunday, November 23, 2008

Finished Projects

I've been working on so many projects lately but haven't finished one of them to show you. The reason is that these particular projects are taking a lot of my time. I'm hoping to get some of them completed in the next few weeks and unfortunately the holidays are not helping my cause right. So some of these projects will have to go on hold.

I'm happy to say that I finally finished the stencil in my guest room. I am embarrassed to tell you that I started it last May. It should have taken me three days to complete, but instead took my months to just get to it.

I decided against a wallpaper border this time. I'm a little tired of those borders peelings up as the years go by. At least I know this border will stay on for while. The entire stencil is done with white and a tiny bit of gold. I explain how to apply stencils in this post. It only took me a few hours to finish and I'm glad I finally finished it all up. I'm pathetic!!

This project started a few weeks ago. I explain my intent in this post. I finally finished the blanket, three pillows and the largest neck roll pillow on the planet. I just put this together without realizing how large it would turn out to be. Wow, it's big, but I think it works since the bed is so big.

The above photo doesn't show the colors too well, but they are robins egg blue, brown and gold. It's a welcome change in color for this bedroom which was gold and green with accents of red. There are curtains in the future, but not yet. Too many other things to get done. I love working with fabric and creating all the custom accents in a room.

A friend of mine was telling me just the other day that her mother was trying to decorate her mountain home. She wanted a motif that would look great in that setting. What she spent days looking for were pillows and she found none. If you have a sewing machine, pillows are the easiest thing to make and the fabric to match is the easiest to find.

I read the other day that sewing machines in the UK are selling like hotcakes. I think this is pretty interesting. Maybe people are catching back on to the concept of "making your own".

More projects to come.

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Monday, November 17, 2008

Cheap Enough DIY Christmas Gifts

Low on cash? Join the crowd!

So the holidays are around the corner and you are short on cash. With the way things are going these days it looks like you won't be alone. So why not start making some gifts now? DIY gifts take a while, so get started before December gets here and have them all ready in time for the holidays. Less stress, less cash and some very nice personalized gifts.

Go back into my blog and check out the Photo CD coasters. All you need are some nice photographs of family or friends and you are well on your way. I personally think that a set of 4 or 6 of these CD coasters will make a great gift for someone, wrapped up in a great little decorative box. The software to make them is a free download, the old CD's can be from around the house or purchased for a few pennies a piece. A role of stick- on vinyl (around $8.00) and a bottle of spray glue (around $4.00). That's all you need to make these great gifts.

If you need extra help using the free software (very easy) take a look at this post.

I have mentioned the free Lowe' quarterly magazine before. It's mailed to your home every few months and is always filled with some very cool ideas. This month they show you how to make a Tic-Tac-Toe board out of a large 12 inch tile and little outdoor rocks with X's and O's hand painted.

Also in this month's magazine:

  • Making nutcrackers out of clay pots (very cute)

  • different Christmas wreaths

  • easy to make wine glass decorations (great gift idea)

  • how to make your own cheese board

  • make a menorah or a dreidel

  • decorative mailboxes

  • personalized photo ornaments made out of wood

  • ornaments

  • room makeovers

  • and organizational ideas
all this free, for you.

sign up at

Inside this issue were 2 coupons. Spend $50.00 in Lowe,s and get $10.00 off or spend $250.00 get $25.00 off. I already used the lesser on paint for my daughters room

If you have not subscribed yet, you can look at all the above ideas on the site (where you subscribe). It's on the bottom of the page. All these ideas are inexpensive and very personalized.

The next item I just recently found is admittedly pretty cool. Design you own fabric and order it by the yard. The site called explains it all. Pretty nice if you are interested in designing your very own fabric. I contacted the company to find out if they can print photographs on this fabric and they told me yes. Check out this blog: . This lady used a photograph from her wedding and made a wall hanging for her hubby as an anniversary gift. It is beautiful.

So what if you were to use photographs of your children or someone elses children, families or pets to make decorative pillows? The cotton fabric is $18.00 a yard and is 44" wide. This site also includes an informational blog with all kinds of ideas, free software for repeating designs and tips for anyone interested in creating their own fabric. Just another idea for some inexpensive and very personalized Christmas gifts. Somehow I can see a blanket for my husband in the future with photos of Eli Manning or Derek Jeter on the front! Oh, how he would love that. All this is possible to make yourself. It's definately a one of a kind gift.

Do you give gifts to your neighbors? I give gifts to all my neighbors' dogs. Every year I bake up some bone shaped doggy biscuits for my furry friends. This year I'm including hand painted glass jars to store those treats (I'll post pics). People seem to really appreciate this as a gift-and I am certain the dogs do.

If you are interested, here is the recipe. Don't forget to purchase a dog bone cookie cutter.

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 Tbsp. Baking Powder
  • 1 cup peanut butter (smooth or chunky)
  • 1 cup milk
  • Preheat oven to 375

In a bowl, combine flour and baking powder. In another bowl, mix peanut butter and milk. Then add dry ingredients and mix. Place on a lightly floured surface and knead. Roll dough to 1/4" thickness and use a cookie cutter to cut shapes. Bake for 20 minutes on greased pan until lightly brown. Cool on rack. These cookies burn easily so keep an eye on them.

Hey, it's just a little different. This year give the dogs a treat.

*yes, I do have to come up with something for the cats!!

Here are just a few ideas to get you going. If you have any easy, inexpensive ideas for Christmas gifts please send them to me and I'll post them so we can all share.

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Thursday, November 13, 2008

Decorating For The Season

With Halloween past us, Thanksgiving is the next holiday we get to enjoy. Decorating in this season is usually pretty inexpensive. Lots can be done with supplies that are available in your backyard. Just look around and you'll see what I mean. Right now my backyard is a cornucopia of colors and items that can easily be used for decorating.

Here are some photos I found that give us all ideas for the home.
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A beautiful centerpiece for your Thanksgiving can be as simple as a cake plate, apples, some acorns and several autumn leafs. Cheap enough.

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Monday, November 10, 2008

Thrift Store Headboard

There's a story behind the headboard below and the bench at the foot of the bed. This old headboard was found in a Salvation Army for $10.00. It had a giant "wagon wheel" in the center. My friend had the vision for this piece. She could see in her head what it "could" look like with a little work. That's something you just have to have when shopping around at thrift stores. You have to have a vision of what a piece may look like after you bring it home and make the adjustments.

My friend cut the wagon wheel out and replaced it with a padded fabric backboard. This particular headboard had so many beautiful elements to it that it was worth salvaging. The original wood was in great condition and only needed a little lemon oil to shine it up.

I think she did a great job with this project. For $10.00, a vision and some work she got herself a beautiful headboard.

The bench at the end of the bed was also picked up at the Salvation Army. She only had to recover the top piece and it was a perfect match to the headboard.

Sometimes you have to add and subtract to make old furniture work for you and your home. It's worth it though. Most new furniture today is made with veneers over particle board. Solid wood furniture is hard to find these days unless a very high price tag is attached. I'm still finding solid wood furniture out there occasionally that is well worth the work when you get it home. The end result can make a great addition.

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Thursday, November 6, 2008

Fabric-Create It Your Way

I'm in the mood to change the colors in the master bedroom. The room is just looking too dark to me, so I'm changing the color scheme to robin's egg blue and brown. I know these colors are trendy, but that fact really doesn't bother me. I'm the one that has to sleep there, so I'll pick the colors I want-don't you think?

Last year I purchased a white down comforter and a duvet cover to protect it. I didn't like the selection of duvet covers out there last year and I like them less this year. I was also shocked at the prices and quality. Could the colors of these things look any more drab??? While I was searching for the duvet cover, I looked around at curtains. I was once again shocked at the prices and the limited selection of colors. It seems to me that curtains come in standard colors of beige, white, green, burgundy or brown. Not a lot of variety out there.

The solution is that you have to make your own. A duvet cover is just a giant pillowcase anyway. I thought about sewing two king size sheets together, but couldn't find any interesting sheets. I relented and decided to buy two flat king sheets (in ivory) and make a rather large coverlet to place over the bed. This saves me some money, otherwise I would have to purchase 9 yards of fabric to make a complete duvet cover. So I have a plain duvet, but a colorful cover to go over it.

Armed with my 50% off coupon, I went to Joanne's fabric store and purchased my fabric. Interestingly enough, they will let you use two coupons (if they are from 2 different sources-Internet, Sunday flyer or mail) and use them to buy two cuts of fabrics.

Below are three of the four fabrics I'm using. With these fabrics I'm making a large throw for a king size bed, three 26" X 26" European square pillows and one neck roll. The curtains will come later.

Below is the throw tossed over my bed. I lined this blanket with a blue and brown plaid that was $4.00 a yard. With coupon $2.00 per yard. The top fabric was $30.00 a yard (ouch!), but I got that for $15.00. This throw took 3 yards, plus the fabric is wide at 60".

Check out the fringe. Remember this stuff??? It's very retro, probably dating back to the 70's. The down comforter is white, but tomorrow I'll get around to sewing my duvet cover together or maybe I'll use last years model. Either way, it should go fine with the new coverlet.

Below is the plaid fabric that is under the throw. It coordinates with the color, but no one will actually see. For 2 bucks a yard, I'm not worried about it.

Below is the first of three square European square pillows I'm working on right now. I used a coordinating fabric to create one triangle that runs down to the center of my pillow. At the tip I'll have the decorative button and then sew on the tassel. Two pillows will look like this and the third will be different. Not all of them are done yet. Once I have all the pillows completed and a bed skirt done (not sure I'll make it or buy one), I'll take a final photo to show you the completed look. These square pillows seem to be taking the place of the old shams we used on our beds and I definitely like that look.

I have to say that all this is pretty fun and relatively easy. It's basically sewing up squares. The trick is getting your fabric for a good price. That may require a few additional trips out and coupons to boot. In the end though, you have a custom look and something that you like. You definitely won't find this out in the stores.

I'll keep you posted on the re-do!

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Sunday, November 2, 2008

Ceiling Medallions

How You Can Spice Them Up

You've seen them out there-ceiling medallions. Available in the home improvement stores these can add architectural design and can hide imperfections on your ceilings. Most of them come in plain white. You can paint them to match your room or antique them-giving them an older look.

This one hangs in my dining room above the table. I used colors from the room and painted the disc with acrylics. I always seal them with a clear coat before hanging.

The medallion below was painted in the same way using acrylics. This had more detail, but the pattern was already on the disc and that made it very easy to follow. I have two of these hanging over ceiling fans on the screened porch. The colors are a bit more vibrant but the outdoor porch can handle the additional color.

Lastly, this hangs in the kitchen above the stove. Since the kitchen didn't look like it needed any more color, I antiqued this using a stain. I just wiped the stain along the disc.

Just imagine what you can do with these. Ceiling medallions can also be used for wall art. They actually make nice mirrors. You paint the disk, insert mirror where the hole is and you're done.

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Monday, October 27, 2008

Halloween Week

Halloween Week

Halloween week is upon us and before you know it, the little trick or treaters will come knocking on your door. I've pretty much got the house looking tastefully creepy and all that's left is to buy the candy. Since Halloween falls on a Friday this year, I'm assuming that the kids will be out in force and will stay out longer.
Like most people, I search out bargains after the holidays. I also look around during the year at places like Goodwill and other thrift stores for decorations that other people have gotten tired of. I admit, that using the same decorations year after year for the different seasons and holidays can get boring. Do you feel that way when you pull out the boxes? Same old decorations year after year..........
So every year I try and get rid of the old stuff and look around to replace them with some new, more interesting ones.
You would be surprised what people get rid of. During the year I always find some neat little items, very cheap.
These two items I found in a thrift store last year, but this will be the first year that they make a debut at my place.
I picked up this little pumpkin carriage for $3.00

I especially like this candle holder. Cost $2.00. So for 5 bucks, I got myself two new additions to add to my collection. So when you are out, make sure you check the thrift stores for decorations. You'll be surprised what you will fine.

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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Thrift Store Makeover and another project

Little wood tray at the thrift store-cost $2.00. Needs a little updating, don't you think?

I thought this may make a great little tray to have around for those times when you really need one. I thought about hand painting it but decided against that, so it got decoupaged instead. Using decorative tissue paper cut into little squares, I armed myself with glossy Mod Podge and a small paint brush.

I noticed after I took the photo that the three trees are still showing through, so I'll place another layer over it. Mod Podge looks so great when it all dry, but things tend to stick to it, so I'll apply a few layers of a clear spray to the top. I handy item to have when the kids are sick and have to have their meals in bed (yeah, I ever get that treatment.)

Sharing Ideas

I love to share all my ideas with my readers and I really appreciate when other share their ideas as well. I came across this idea a few months ago and thought I would give it a try.

The idea came from

Michelle gives great step by step directions on how to make a wood trivet. What really attracted me to the idea is the "length" of the trivet when completed. Placed on a large table, you can set down a bunch of items on it. I only wish I had made mine even longer. It's very flexible too so you can adjust its position for different look.

This trivet is made with 12" pieces of hobby wood. Little holes were drilled through each one and flexible craft wire was threaded through each one with a wood bead in between. I painted a small flower on the end of each one.

This wood trivet is great. It beats pulling out separate ones every night for hot plates and dishes.

For more directions check Michelle's blog.

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Thursday, October 16, 2008

Decorating For Halloween

Halloween is One of My Favorite Holidays

My three kids are getting a little old for all this stuff, but they still love Halloween. Over the years I have accumulated all sorts of things to "get festive" with.

This year it's the mummy cling on in my front window.

He is gigantic and takes up the entire front window of the house. With a light placed strategically behind him, he really comes to life at night. In fact, when you drive by the house, he is all you see. Pretty cool, huh?

Here are some very pretty and creative ways to decorate for Halloween.

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Lots of pumpkins involved here, but very cute on a front porch.

A very warm and inviting front entrance way. photo: courtesy of

This arrangement adds a real impact. Little pumpkins all arranged decoratively and carved.
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This is some very involved decorating, but tastefully done and very festive. I can just imagine handing out candy from this area.

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Complicated, but spooky! I love the use of the netted fabric.
This photo shows the vinyl clings that I used in my window. They are pretty cool especially when lit from the back. Cost: around $19.00.

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Gourds, white pumpkins, flowers all make festive arrangements. The small gourds I saw in Walmart this morning were just under $4.00 for a bag of six.

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These pumpkins look great, but I'm sure they took lots of time to carve out.

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This wonderfully decorated home belongs to Mary McCarthy of Centreville, Md. She has included all the elements including a fog machine, staring eyes, gargoyles, a graveyard and even a bat belfry. Her neighbors refer to her as the "queen of Halloween"-I can only imagine why. This Victorian home was built in 1881 and is perfect for a Halloween presentation.

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If you want to see some of the most creative and imaginative Halloween props ever, check out this site. This guy gives you the best step by step directions on creating paper mache pumpkins, skeletons, zombies....etc. Unbelievable!

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Monday, October 13, 2008

Thrifty Use of Old Porch Light

For Sure, You Will Think I'm Nuts
Maybe I got a little carried away with this one. You be the judge. I recently replaced the old lanterns in front of my house. I was just about to throw it away when I realized I may actually be able to make something out of them.

Here is what it looked like before. Pretty ugly, don't you agree?

Here is what I did with it. I took out all the surrounding the glass and replaced it with wood, cutting a hole out for the birds and installing a perch. I removed the socket and built a little floor. I caulked all the seams (don't want it raining down on my feathered friends) and sprayed the brass, white. The wood was painted gray. It now matches my house. I'll be picking a tree tomorrow and hanging it up.

So now, the old fixture won't rot out in some landfill, but will hopefully become a home for some birds in the spring. Hey, I'm saving the world in very little ways.

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