Thursday, May 22, 2008

Giving Wicker a Custom Look

These two chairs and table were given to me by my mom a few years ago. When she gave them to me they were white with blue& pink accents. In order to make them fit into my decor I had to make some changes. I spray painted them a taupe color and hand painted selected areas with rust, gold and green.

Here you can see a close up of the hand painting.The colors add a little personal touch to the furniture. I picked out certain areas of the chair and table that I thought would look good with some color.The chairs came with pads with the same pink/blue combination so I recently covered them with different fabric and added the small round pillows for the back. I basically placed the pillows on a large piece of paper and drew out my pattern. I transfered the the template onto the pillow and sewed them together. What I added was a slit on the bottom of the pillow so I could easily remove these covers for washing. That idea turned out to be good because these chairs do get dirty enough out on the porch.I sprayed the furniture with clear, spray gloss to protect it from the elements. Wicker is easy and fun to paint. You can really make it your own.

**On that note, I'm leaving for vacation in two days. We are packing up the family and heading to the beach. Please don't think I have disappeared because I'll be back at the end of next week. See you then!!

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Monday, May 19, 2008

Latest Thrift Store Find and More....

Here is my latest find from the thrift store. Who could resist this one, not to mention a price of $2.50. A cabinet with arms and feet? One arm was broken off completely so I used it as a template to cut out another one from plywood. This is exactly how I found this cabinet (minus the broken arm). It reminds me the movie Beauty and The Beast!

It was too cute to pass up. It's on my list of projects to do this summer. When I've figured out exactly what to do with it, I'll post it for you to see. The "critics" (that would be my family) want me to paint a face on it. If anyone has any suggestions, please comment below. I'd appreciate some input.

I spend plenty of time looking around at other blogs and websites. Occasionally I find one that I think my readers may like. A few weeks ago I mentioned where they highlight the best DIY projects. It's a great site and I visit it daily. They have some great ideas and information.

I found a site a few weeks ago that I recommend you visit at This site seems to focus on sewing, but they have a wide variety of projects. I also check this site once a week for ideas and they have so many. Take a look.

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Saturday, May 17, 2008

Free Magazine Subscription

Thanks to we can all get a free two year subscription to Country Homes Magazine with no strings attached. Go over and visit Heather's site and find an enormous amount of great information that will save you a ton of money. Coupons, discounts, tips, advice and freebies are just a click away.

You would be jealous if you knew all the freebies I got this week!!!01 02 12

Friday, May 16, 2008

Conserving Water In Your Garden

Conserving Water

We hear lots of this in the southeast where water is at a premium. For years the rainfall in Atlanta has been “skimpy” at best. It has had a cumulative effect on the area. Last year we received so little rainfall that the state practically shut down for lack of water. One of our lakes is under 12 feet, leaving our city in potential crisis. Thankfully it has rained more frequently during the past few months and things are looking up. With summer approaching, we are faced with another season of having to conserve our most precious natural resource. People around here are looking for ways to save water and still keep their gardens and lawns looking good.

I do spend most of my time decorating and creating on the inside of my home, but in the warmer weather you will find me outside doing exactly the same thing. I now spend my time looking for ways to save water.

I’m toying with the idea of creating some rain collection buckets so I have the water available in case things get worse from here. I’ve also scouted around looking at some new products on the market that “make sense”. Here are a few ideas and new products that I have come up with.

I first saw Pennington Smart Seed on television a few weeks ago. This
grass seed uses 30% less water. I have a few sections in the backyard that could use grass. I’m going to try this seed and see what happens. I typically wait to plant seed until the fall but I can’t go all summer looking at the bald spots. Water friendly grass seed……I like it.

I’ve notice that Home Depot is converting many of their plants to potless. You take them home, remove the plastic and stick them right into the ground. It's environmental smart and much easier to do. Now you don't have to collect all the plastic pots and throw them away.

Last week, we had rain and lot’s of it. Under these conditions it's such a good feeling to see a saturated ground and that's something you don’t see very often here. On my way out to do some errands I saw that several people had their automatic sprinklers going full blast. This is in a state that only a few months ago was talking about having NO DRINKING WATER!! What are these people thinking? I saw a new product called Vigoro Wireless Moisture sensor that sells for $59.95 retail. It will tell you if you NEED to water by checking the moisture in your soil. It overrides your programmed sprinker system and won’t water if the ground doesn’t need it. I water by hand and don’t have a sprinkler system, but this seems pretty practical to have. I don’t know about any other place, but water costs are on the rise here. Save your money on water and monitor what you truly need.

Also new is the automatic rain monitor also made by Vigoro that sells for $14.97. Add this to your existing timer and sprinkler combination. This senses rainfall and hose water pressure, once again letting you know if your lawn needs water. This is basically a rain monitor and certainly cheap enough. All these new products I've talked about are available exclusively at Home Depot.

Just a few tips on buying outdoor furniture. BUY TO LAST!!! I purchased this set (OK, I am not kidding here), 30 years ago. Made completely out of fiberglass and it has lasted me forever. Every 2 years I spray the four chairs and table with new paint. It still looks like the day I bought it. I originally purchased the set below for $400.00. You cannot kill this stuff. Talk about getting a good buy for your money!!!

This outdoor furniture pictured below was purchased 5 years ago and I paid $465.00 for it. Look at the condition of it. It is shedding it’s skin by peeling off large pieces of rust and it happens to be very hard to repair. A can of spray paint won't help this furniture.

I love the new outdoor wicker which is made to last. The furniture company Thomasville has come out finally with outdoor furniture pictured here. This set sells for $999.00 only at Home Depot, which is twice the price of my outdoor-ready-for-the-garbage set but sometimes you really do get what you pay for!

I have a wicker set (four chairs and table) that have survived the elements for years. When they get tired looking, I give them a quick coat of paint. The “made for outdoor” wicker is even more durable. Next time I go shopping for outdoor furniture, I’m looking for a more durable outdoor wicker.

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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Painting A Wicker Rug

Finding things to match your decor can sometimes be difficult. I love the look of wicker in my home and it goes so nicely in every room. It blends well with different styles of furniture and adds a warm, rustic feeling. What if it doesn't match or is damaged? That's no problem because it can easily be repaired and painted. I have always found that spray painting wicker is the easiest way to freshen it up or change the look completely.

I found these two small wicker rugs in a store for $3.00 each. In order to make them into what I wanted, I hand painted them with acrylic paints. I've done this before and it works very well. By the way: neatness here does not count because you are painting over a very bumpy surface.

I set the rug up on a table and painted plain stripes with colors that would coordinate with my porch.

Here is the second rug. This is going on my tabletop. I drew out a random flower using a Sharpie marker and painted it with the acrylics.

It's all finished now, put together and on the screened in porch. The top rug has a piece of tempered glass on it that actually came with the set when I purchased it. The interesting part of the story is that I bought this set in Fortunoff's over 30 years ago. Completely made of fiberglass it will live a longer life then me! Every two years I re-apply spray paint and it looks like new. I paid a little over $400.00 dollars for it back then (pretty expensive in those days), but it has held up over the years so well. The old saying "you get what you pay for," is so true in this case.

*they say that you should occasionally spray wicker with water in the hot weather. This prevents it from drying out and cracking.

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Friday, May 9, 2008

Faux Stained Glass Votives


I found this idea for these faux stained glass votives in a craft magazine. They are inexpensive and easy to make.

I have a screened-porch with 8 windows and thought these might look nice lit up at night.

Supply List:
*glass votives
*Mod Podge-glossy
*1/2 inch paint brush
*decorative tissue of your choice
*Clear spray to coat

*tea candles

The glass votives I found at Walmart for .47 cents each. All the other supplies I already had at home. The total cost of the project was under $4.00.

How To Do:

Cut small squares of tissue. Load your brush with some Mod Podge and apply the squares, one at a time. It's fine to overlap the squares. All your squares should be applied to the "outside" of the candle votive, slightly overlapping the top rim. When you are all finished, spray with clear coat to protect your candles.
Here I have them all lined up ready for spraying.
Here is one of them lit up at night. I wish I could have gotten a better photograph of all eight of them at the same time, but the photo I took was not very good.
I have to admit that these 8 little candles look great at night!01 02 12

Faux Stained Glass Votives

DIY Votices

I found this idea in a craft magazine and just had to give it a try. I have a screened in porch with 8 screened windows. I thought it would be nice to make one of these votives for each window.

*glass votives
*Mod Podge-glossy
*one small (1/2 inche) paint brush
*decorative tissue paper of your choice
*spray clear gloss
*tea lights

The glass votives I found at Walmart for .47 cents a piece. All the other supplies I already had at home. Total cost of project: under $4.00
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Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Thrift Store Makeovers

Here are two items I recently found at my local thrift store.

Here is a "thing" that was originally a strange green color. I Mod-Podged around the frame so it would match the room I planned on hanging it in. The frame is wood and the center is wrought iron. The price: $2.00...............
Next is my thrift store sun. You'll notice he has an injury to his nose. No problem......I'll touch it up with the same color paint.
Price: $1.50. Great day at the thrift store!
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Saturday, May 3, 2008

Building a Garden Bridge

I'm so happy spring is here. That means it's time to work outside in the yard. Already it's starting to shape up. When we first moved into our home we realized pretty quickly that we had some water issues in the back yard. Our property has a pretty dramatic slope, so when it rains we get all the neighbor's run-off. With some help from my hubby we dug out a natural creek and added river rock. It looked really nice and functioned well by collecting run-off and diverting it into the woods, rather than our house. I thought that the little creek needed a wooden bridge. I looked at several landscape places and the cheapest one was $800.00. NO WAY, too expensive!!! I looked on Ebay and they had a few that you could have shipped and then put together yourself. They were not cheap and were made out of pine wood. Pine does not hold out in the elements. My solution: I would build my own.

How hard could it be? I just wanted a little bridge that would look nice, not necessarily something that I would walk on. It did turn out to be solid enough and people walk across it all the time. I studied the ones I looked at in the garden centers so I would have an idea how to constuct it. Here it is all finished.

By the way, the New York Yankee fan is my husband's addition to the project.....literally.

I purchased pressure treated lumber at Home Depot. I figured that I would need two 2' X 12" pieces for the bottom so I had the guys cut it for me. They measure around 6 feet long. I penciled out a curve (see above photo) and cut it carefully with a jigsaw. My biggest mistake with this bridge in that it is "too curved". I actually made the curve too acute, so the bridge is a little steep. Believe's Ok cause it doesn't get much traffic. I used six 4" X 4" posts which I also asked the guys to cut for me. Wood posts are hard to cut because they are so thick. That's why I had them cut at the store. I used twelve 6" bolts to fasten them to the sides and added the decorative finials to the top. Those finials I glued on. I added the heavy rope for effect. The slats, for where you would actually walk on, were just decking boards that I cut all the same size and screwed on.

I constructed most of this in the garage and then realized I would have to finish it in the yard because it would get way to heavy to carry out. I'm happy with my little bridge. It really was not difficult to put together. The best part: total cost-$80.00!! Much better than the original one for $800.00. Ok, that one was much more elaborate but the bottom line is it was too expensive.
We have lots of moss growing in the backyard. My hubby was complaining about it, so I transplanted it between these flats stones that I recently put down in front of the bridge. A great use of moss and I love the way it looks. I'm keeping it watered and it seems to be taking. Best's free!

I'm hoping that the moss takes and continues to grow around the rock. The bridge and it's surrounding area is a work in progress. I'm adding to it everyday.
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Thursday, May 1, 2008

Reader's Projects

Marilyn wrote to me with ideas for some wine crates she purchased at the store. She came up with this creative use-a planter for her garden.

Here is how she describes this project:

Here is a very basic use for discarded wooden wine crates. First, I sealed the wood and then lined it with plastic to guard against wood rot. (In addition, I placed the crate on 2 bricks to elevate the box and provide good air circulation. )

Then I drilled holes in the bottom, filled it with good potting soil and planted it.

I decided against staining the boxes, preferring a rustic look. These boxes are very sturdy and I think could likely be used again next year.

I think my next project is going to take another wine crate apart and try to make a bird house. I really hate to see seeing these wine crates ending up in a dumpster when there are so many things that could be made from the wood.

*I love this idea. What a great way to use something that others may just throw away. I love the look this little box adds to your garden. It gives me a real country feel and it blends real nice with nature. If you get around to making that birdhouse, please send me a picture that I can post. You have some wonderful ideas!!!
For all the rest of you.....I know you are working on some great projects. Share you creativeness, ideas and photos. Send me your pictures!! I would love to post them here and I am certain that others will enjoy looking at them.
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