Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Turkey Place Cards for the Table

If you are having lots of people for the holidays, it makes sense to have place card holders
so everyone will know where to sit. It's not necessary, but helpful. In my case-not really, not enough people. However, I can't help myself-I must create.......something.
What I do like and always liked about place cards is that they add something
"different" to the table setting. So this year I decided to make some turkeys to place at each setting.

These were made with my band saw using some scrap wood. I'm new to the band saw thing, so it took some time to cut them all out, but it worked out. Plus, I got some much needed experience at the saw. I love this tool!

I made a template out of paper and starting cutting. After all my pieces were ready, I glued them all together and painted them.

So now, I just pop in a card and write the persons name on it. Each turkey came out a different size and slightly crooked-not sure why and don't care. They are cute and add just a little something to my table.

Here is the entire group:

Now I just need to get all the other stuff together. Enjoy your holiday!!


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Thursday, November 18, 2010

New Painting Product

Green Toad Painting System

The Green Toad company was kind enough to send me several new paint supplies so I could try them out and share my thoughts with you. I do a lot of painting around here. It's the easiest and cheapest way to change the look of an entire room. Anything that makes this job easier is great.

A few things about these products.

*the brush handle is warrantied for life!
*The brush twists and turns 360 degrees, which certainly comes in handy while painting around windows, trim and doors. This saves you time. What a great idea-you just click and turn the handle and the brush changes the position.
*the handle has a little ridge around the base of the brush, so there is less of a mess. I really like this feature. All of my painting brushes have paint on the handles. It's impossible to get it off.
*the grip that the handle has, is comfortable, much more so than the regular brushes. Less wear on your wrist.
*when you are done, a button is pressed and the brush is released.

The roller system works the same way. You change rollers with a click of a button. Quick and easy-no struggling.
All the components are biodegradable. Throw any of it away and don't worry about it sticking around for 100 years. It's compostable.

Check out their web site for more information. http://www.thegreentoad.net/

Here are some photos that I took while using the tools.

Here it is in a straight position for painting.

Notice the handle grip? This just makes painting "more comfortable".

The above photo shows the handle now in a different position.
Easy clean up. The handle washes nicely.

Showing another position here. It's so neat.....You click and turn the brush easily. This comes in very handy when you are painting around windows and doors.
Another position.

Here shows the "ridge". This does a good job of keeping the paint off of your handle, keeping the handle nice and clean.

The little black button. Click it to release your brush and attach another tool-such as the roller.
One of the roller attachments. Clicks right onto the handle.

You only buy the handle once. After that all you need are the brushes or rollers. The prices are very reasonable and the entire collection makes painting easy.

I want to thank the folks at Green Toad for sending me the tools to try out. I'm sold on them!! I don't mind painting, but anything that makes it easier-is a good thing!

Check out the site @ http://www.thegreentoad.net/


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Monday, November 8, 2010

Last year when I happened to stumble upon the new platinum effusion lamp wick, I also came across these great new diffusers. They use water, a new type of stick and scents. That's it...just water and scent. I ordered a few to give them a try. I was really surprised to find out what a great job they do in a small room.
The diffusers I've used in the past come with "reed" sticks which seem to lose their usefulness pretty quickly. They get soggy and discolor pretty quickly. Stonewick has created a stick that is washable, porous and will last forever if you are careful with them. They feel like glass or ceramic but are porous enough to absorb the water/scent solution and fill your room with a great fragrance. I have placed them in smaller rooms-perfect for the bathroom or laundry room.

The mixture is the scent and tap water. Fill it up and forget about it. The water naturally evaporates over time and you just refill it. It's totally green. No additives or chemicals, just water and fragrance. You control the strength of the fragrance by adding or cutting the fragrance. Easy!

I ordered several of their fragrances. The package sells for $15.00. The kit includes the fragrance/eye dropper and sticks. The bottle is not included but most of use have something decorative around we can use. I think these will make great Christmas gifts because they are so different from what's out there in the stores. Check the link to the right of this post (upper right hand corner) and it will take you to their site. All the information is there.

Scents include-
apple cinnamon
stargazer .....and more.
Their web site gives you a complete description of the scents and their components.

Below shows how the sticks actually look. You can see they are much more substantial than the diffuser reeds you get in the retail stores.

For those of you that use the "effusion lamps", you can also use your own scents to drop into the glass jar. Remember, the sticks are reusable and last forever. Now that's a bargain.

I just noticed that they have a promotion going for a free refill with purchase. Great!! The code is listed on the ad, at the bottom.

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Monday, November 1, 2010

Halloween-A Day Late and a dollar short....

I had the best of intentions!! Unfortunately, I didn't have enough time........
I planned on making these pumpkin candles for my screened in porch several months ago. I purchased the orange & black tissue paper and the glass containers (dollar store) a long time ago, but I just lost track of time and got too busy. So here is the best I can do-two completed candles (and honestly, I finished one up while answering the door last night).

I'm pathetic......I know.......

If you are interested in making these candles follow the directions here. I made 8 of these for the spring and they came out great. I do plan on making 6 more of these pumpkin candles to complete the set, each with a different face. I'll leave them out until Thanksgiving. What the heck, right?

I enjoy making them and love the way to turn out so I'll be making 8 more for Christmas. I had better start soon....

Here they are completed.

I also made these headstones-thought they would look cute on the table for Halloween next to everyones plate.......never finished them either. ugh.........
They did come out cute though. I used some scrap wood and cut them out using a scroll saw. I purchased myself one of these saws a year ago and I continue to experiment, create and just have some fun with it. So maybe I'll use them next year. Yes, there is always next year.
I spray painted these tombstones white and then hit them with some grey. Now, I'll hand paint some RIPS with names or something. They all have a small piece of wood glued behind them to keep them standing up.

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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Garden Mushrooms

Garden Mushrooms

This summer I got it stuck in my head that I wanted some decorative mushrooms in my garden. Don't ask me.......I don't know what it is about mushrooms, but I just love them.
It took me a long time to figure out how I was going to make these things. There wasn't much to google about them because not too many people have made these things.

I knew what I wanted them to look like, but wasn't sure how to actually go about making them. After much thought, I figured it out. Like everything else it was trial and error. The first one wasn't made the same as the second one, because I made changes along the way.

They have to go outside, last through rain and wind too, so cement seemed the best way to go. I researched that and decided on mortar. I was going to paint them, but decided on glass mosaic squares. My reasoning-color. I wanted color! They are going into a shade garden and that's where I need the color.

Here they are finished and I'll explain below how I made them.
I started with a very large, plastic bowl. Not the easiest thing to find, mind you. I landed up using an old halloween candy bowl. I sprayed the bowl with cooking oil, poured in the mixed mortar (morter + water according to the directions) and waited 2 days for it to set. Mortar dries smooth and this helps when you are glueing on the glass. The cooking oil allows easy release of the mortar. Mushroom caps-done.

The next step was to cut up the squares and circles out of glass. My years of stained glass experience helped a lot. You can buy these squares all ready cut out in the craft stores. You also can start breaking up old plates and use them. I glued all the squares and circles onto the mushroom cap and then mortared around the squares. I used white mortar as you can see.

I used an empty soda bottle for the smallest mushroom stem. This worked out, but I wanted taller shrooms too. I used 4 inch PVC pipe (home depot), cut it and glued the shroom to the top. This worked great. In the future I would stick to the PVC pipe and skip the soda bottle. It's easier and you can leave it white.

These mushrooms look just great in the yard and everyone loves them. So far they have lasted through all kinds of weather. I plan on planting some Mondo grass around them.

FYI-the red shroom is poisonous......

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Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Paint Quaility Institute sent me some more great tips for improving your home. It's all about paint!

Paint Quality Institute



Recent surveys reveal that consumers will be doing a lot of remodeling this

year. But with the sluggish economy, many are opting for do-it-yourself

projects to squeeze the most out of their budgets. One of the most common

undertakings: interior painting.

“Nearly everyone agrees that some jobs – like reroofing or electrical work – are

best left to the pros, but most people think they can do their own painting,”

says Debbie Zimmer, spokesperson for the Paint Quality Institute. “And,

generally speaking, they’re right.”

Many people regard painting as a weekend project. As such,

they want to see the fruits of their labor by Sunday night. “That’s a realistic

goal, but to achieve it, you have to plan out the job and be well-organized,”

she says.

If your organizational skills leave something to be desired, Zimmer offers some


1. Get all of your furniture out of the way by moving it to the center of the

room, using plastic sliders on heavy items so you don’t have to lift them.

Cover everything with plastic, blankets, or old sheets. Then, put down

drop-cloths to protect your floors from stray droplets of paint.

2. Scrub all the surfaces you’ll be painting with a sponge and mild household

detergent solution before going to the paint store. That will give them time to

dry while you’re out shopping.

3. Making multiple trips to the paint store can consume gobs of time, so try to

do all of your shopping in just one visit. Before leaving your home, see what

painting tools and accessories you have on hand, then create a shopping list. .

. or save even more time by going to www.paintquality.com to download a helpful


4. Buy technologically-advanced top quality 100% acrylic latex interior paint.

These durable paints, some of which serve double-duty as both primer and paint,

are better at hiding the color that’s underneath. As a result, you may need to

apply just a single coat – saving you not only time and effort, but money as


5. Tape the edges of the surfaces you’ll be painting to enable you to apply the

paint faster. You’ll quickly recover the time spent doing this. And taping

will make your finished paint job look a lot neater.

6. Work “top down”: paint the ceiling; then the walls; next, the windows and

trim; and, lastly, the baseboards. Following this sequence will help keep

just-painted surfaces free of paint spatter or drip marks and cut down time

spent on touch-up work.

7. When painting a ceiling or wall, start by “cutting in” a corner section with

a paintbrush, applying a 3” band of paint around the edge. This will enable you

to quickly fill in the area with a paint roller. Repeat this process in 3-foot


8. Apply the paint liberally. Trying to “stretch” your paint by applying a

thin coat is false economy: You might end up needing a second coat to

completely hide the original color.

9. Assuming that you purchased top quality 100% acrylic latex paint, your

cleanup will be a snap. Being water-based, these paints can be quickly and

easily cleaned off of brushes and rollers with plain soap and water.

10. The last time-saver when using top quality latex paint? Not having to wait

for the “paint smell” to go away. Eco-friendly latex paints have very little

odor, so you can put a freshly-painted room back into service right away.

For more tips on saving time and money when doing interior painting, Zimmer

suggests that you invest a few minutes checking out the Paint Quality Institute

website at www.paintquality.com.

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Friday, August 27, 2010

Fall Decorating

Some great decorating tips from Andrea Evans, owner of In The Pink Boutique. Andrea's retail building serves the upscale areas of Arcadia, Biltmore and Paradise Valley located in Arizona. Andrea has years of experience in interior design and her passion includes unique jewelry, home furnishings, collectibles and gift.

Below are 5 great ideas!

“Fall” into Decorating for Autumn!

By: Andrea Evans, Owner


As summer fades out and we cross into autumn, it is time to transform your home to capture the spirit of the season by adding spice and warmth. This year, take a look at the beauty of nature’s fall wardrobe by using the all the colors of the autumn palette such as, deep reds, warm browns, pale mauves, vibrant purples, and, as always, the traditional oranges and yellows of pumpkins and other fall vegetables. Whether you are spreading gourds and pumpkins around your kitchen, bathroom, or porch; or garnishing your sofa with soft, warm blankets, you'll find that it is small touches that go a long way when decorating your home for the autumn season!


1. To bring charm to your entryway add golden, red, and orange maple leaves to a plain wheat wreath for your front door, and plant red and orange mums in outdoor planters.


2When purchasing furnishings for your living room, look for furniture that is neutral and warm in color and fabric. Gold, brown, and mocha couches work well for all seasons, especially fall. Steer clear of couches with too much design, because neutral couches can be decorated with colorful, seasonal pillows. To create a warm, cozy feel, decorate with a few wooden furniture accents that complement the couch such as a coffee table and end tables. Only use three or four pieces in your living area to avoid clutter.


3. Use strategic fall accessories to bring elegance to each room. Place autumn berry vines in the window sills, and autumn colored throw pillows and blankets on the couch. Colorful candles, simple pictures, and wooden pumpkins give your living space a charming feel.


4. Set your table. Using placemats, table runners, and tablecloths in rich shades of the fall palette provides an instant glow to your table, and is an inexpensive way to decorate your dining room. Create a centerpiece out of small pumpkins, Indian corn gourds, maple leaves, dried flowers, berries and seed pods. Hang berry rings on kitchen cabinets, place a basket of apples on a countertop, and embellish empty spaces with berry vines and candy corn dishes.

m happeningsandholidays.com


5. Don’t forget candles! Carve out the center of fruits and vegetables such as apples and pumpkins to create votive holders, and use larger pumpkins for pillar candle holders. Swap out your summer pillar and taper candles with fall colored pillars and tapers. Even when not lit, candles bring warmth and beauty in their season’s colors.

Happy Decorating!!!!

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Friday, August 20, 2010

Mod Podge Candles

Mod Podge Candles
I made 8 of these candles for my screened in porch several months ago. In between each large screen, there is a sill that just needed candles. I made these to match the fabric on my chairs. Making things yourself gives you the ability to "match" it up with your room decor.

If you read this blog you know how much I enjoy using Mod Podge. It's great stuff for so many projects and I use it frequently.

I purchased 8 glasses at the dollar store. I used three colors of tissue paper (which I had at home) and a bottle of Mod Podge-glossy. I decided to use white tissue for the background thinking this would give my candles a frosted look, which it did.

Starting out:
I cut out a bunch of small squares of white tissue, used a brush and applied with the Mod Podge. The squares give the glass an unusual look when the candle is burning.

I did this to all 8 glasses. Then I cut out pedals and flowers using different colors (green & orange). These colors all match the porch fabrics.

For the center of the flower I glued on round glass jewels. All eight sit out on the porch. They came out so nice that I've decided to make some more for the fall. Maybe pumpkins?

Since Mod Podge tends to get sticky, I placed four cork pads on the bottom. This works to prevent the glass from sticking to the window sill.

No two are exactly alike but that's what gives them a hand made look.


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Sunday, August 8, 2010

Fixing and touching up Goodwill paintings

I don't usually look around too much at paintings and prints at the thrift store. Lately though, I've been taking a second look. A few months ago I found a great print (future post) and a few weeks ago an acrylic painting. Actually, my thrift store-partner in crime found it. I had passed it up and she came right behind me and placed it into her basket. She asked, "can you fix this for me".
Taking a good look at it, I noticed several scratches and some general "wear" issues, nothing that can't be fixed with some paint!

I took it home with me and got to work. The truth is, it sat around for a few months before I got to it, but I'd like everyone to think I'm on top of these things.........not really...

The trick was to match up the colors and touch up the scratches. It didn't take long and it cost next to nothing. Now I have a better appreciation of "paintings" and "prints" in the thrift store. I look more closely now. They can be fixed!

Here it is all touched up. It's now hanging in my friends bedroom.

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Sunday, July 18, 2010

Room Painting

Someone sent me this email from the the Paint Quality Institute. I read through it, checked out their website and found that they had tons of great information on painting your house. The article below is strictly about painting a bathroom. I thought it contained some very useful information.

The article covers:

expense, color scheme, colors that make your room look larger, preparation, clean-up, warmth or coolness of colors, types of paint, durability and the "order" in which to paint.


Waking up and walking into a tired-looking bathroom is

a tough way to start the day. . .which may explain why the bathroom is the most

frequently remodeled room in the home, according to recent research by the Paint

Quality Institute.

But in these trying economic times, many families either can’t afford –

or refuse to spend – the thousands of dollars it can cost for a new shower,

vanity, and tile.

What can you do if your bathroom is in need of a makeover, but your

budget won’t allow it? “Think about repainting the room,” suggests Debbie

Zimmer, spokesperson for the Institute. “For less than $100, almost any

bathroom can be refreshed and given an exciting new look.”

The fun part of painting is selecting a color scheme. Most paint retailers

have an abundance of color cards from which to choose. Your job is to pare down

the palette to the ideal color for your bathroom.

Consider whether you want your bathroom to feel warm and cozy or look cool

and sleek. Reds, oranges, and yellows tend to warm up a room, while blues and

greens make it seem cooler.

“Your preference may depend upon where you live,” says Zimmer. “Up

North, where the winters are longer, you might welcome the warm feeling created

by a golden tone, for example; but if you live where the summers are long and

hot, you might prefer a ‘cooler’ color.”

Color can also be used to enhance the perceived size of your bathroom, says

Zimmer: “Many of us wish that our bathrooms were bigger, but aren’t willing to

incur the expense of enlarging the room. Interior painting offers an

inexpensive alternative: Painting the room in a light color will make it seem


While there really is no right or wrong choice when it comes to color, that

cannot be said of the quality of paint you use in your bathroom.

“If you’re on a tight budget, you might be tempted to buy a cheap paint, but

even the best paints are still very affordable,” says Zimmer, “and there really

is no comparison when it comes to performance.”

The Paint Quality Institute recommends that consumers purchase only top

quality 100% acrylic latex interior paint for indoor projects. This type of

paint is more durable and long lasting than ordinary paint. It also is ideal

for use in bathrooms and other damp, humid areas, since it typically contains

special additives to fight off mildew.

Zimmer recommends that consumers use a glossy top quality paint in the

bathroom. “Top quality paint made with 100% acrylic in a high gloss or

semi-gloss finish has especially high mildew resistance. Plus, paints with

higher levels of gloss resist staining and are easier to clean,” she says.

If you’re still hesitant to pay a little more per gallon for a top

quality 100% acrylic latex interior paint, consider: Many of these paints

function as both primer and paint, and they have improved “hiding” capability.

So, you’ll likely need to apply just a single coat of top quality paint, while

you might need two or more with a lesser-quality coating.

Only a small amount of prep work is required before painting a bathroom.

First, clean the walls, ceiling, and woodwork by scrubbing them with a sponge

and mild detergent solution. If mildew is present, it should be removed with a

bleach solution of one part bleach to three parts water. (Note: When using a

bleach solution, or working overhead to clean the ceiling, it’s wise to wear

rubber gloves and safety glasses.)

After cleaning all the surfaces, rinse them off with clean water and

allow them to dry before applying your paint.

If you’re doing a complete makeover of your bathroom by painting every

surface, you should follow some time-honored procedures.

Start by painting your ceiling to help prevent any paint spatter from

marring a just-painted wall. Next, paint the walls. Then, follow up by

painting the windows, door, and trim. Complete the job by painting the


While working, you may want to keep the room ventilated by opening a window

or two. But if you’re applying one of the new top quality latex paints, you

will probably notice little paint odor. That’s because today’s advanced latex

paints emit only a small amount of the “volatile organic compounds” that cause

the typical “paint smell” associated with oil-based paints.

Take comfort in the fact that low-VOC latex paints are good for the

environment. . .and for the health of you and your family. And enjoy your

freshly-painted bathroom!

For more tips on interior painting, visit www.paintquality.com.

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Friday, July 9, 2010

Tips for Style on a Budget-Guest Blogger

The ideas below come from Greg Kinsella of London's Chelsea Harbor. He is guest posting on this blog today. What Greg offers us below are ideas that are creative, inexpensive to complete and can be done at home.

I especially like the use of doilies for the "Chabby Shic" style of decor and the idea for all those wine corks that I've been collecting for years. Now I know what I can do with them!! Also, take a look at the use of Indian saris on the bottom. I personally love this idea.

Thrifty Style: 5 Tips for Style on a Budget

Decorating on a budget can be lots of fun since it challenges you to adapt random materials that you can find for cheap into cool items that radiate personality. Here are a few ideas for turning often discarded items into treasures:

1) Sand Candles

Make the most of old candle stubs by melting them and making sand candles. Press a glass or vase into a damp bucket of sand to make the right shape. Embed some crystals or sea shells around the edges of the sand mold and pat it down so the sides are firm. Then pour the melted wax into mold and make wicks out of birthday candles. When it is cooled and firm, dig around the candle and remove it. Gently and evenly wipe some of sand off, but not too much. Use a hair dryer -- or blow torch -- to heat up the outside shell of the sand so the wax penetrates and glues the sand together.

2) Old Aquariums and Fishbowls

Just because a glass aquarium has a crack in it is no reason to put it out to pasture. Plant a terrarium using your favorite herbs and set it up near a window. Create your own frame for the front of the aquarium to disguise its original aluminum framework. For a great bookshelf light, fill a fishbowl with white Christmas lights and crystals.

3) Wine Cork Mats

Put those wine corks to good use to make your own a bath mat, kitchen rug or even a huge area rug if you have enough corks. Simply split the corks in half lengthways and design a layout using the different shades for your pattern. Use a hot glue gun to paste the corks onto a single piece of non-stick shelf liner that measures the size of the area you want to cover. That's it, you now have a new, cool mat that absorbs moisture and muffles sounds.

4) Lace Doilies

Turn old lace doilies into decorative accent pieces with a little imagination. Cover a plain white lamp shade with layers of overlapping doilies to create a romantic scalloped effect. Make a chain of doilies and hang them from the ends of the curtain rods to soften up a window's straight lines. Glue them onto the glass of ceiling light fixtures to give the room a soft, dappled light.

5) Saris

Indian saris are made of exquisite yet durable materials woven into single long pieces that can be used for many decorating concepts. Saris hung across the ceiling in a bedroom can create a harem motif. For a special touch, hang strings of white Christmas lights inside of the saris for a striking ambient light source.

Guest post by: London interior designer Greg Kinsella

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