Sunday, March 29, 2015

Easter Basket Book List!


Everyone has a bit of Spring Fever about now. With Easter just a week away, it is time to think about what to tuck into those Easter Baskets. Of course there will be candy and eggs!
Here is an idea!  How about some great books  How about some great Spring themed books?

There are some obvious Easter Books....


This was a favorite of my kids....a true classic!  The Mother Bunny becomes the famous Easter Bunny even though she has the huge job of raising her many children.














Then of course there is the touch and feel Pat the Bunny.  No nursery collection is complete without this one!
Now on to some favorites that you might NOT know!


MUD  by Mary Lyn Ray is a romping read a loud that just makes you want to go out and play in the "sticky, gooey, marvelous oozy stuff".
Big Belching Bog is written by Phyllis Root and beautifully illustrated by Betsy Bowen (both Minnesotans by the way)!  Not only is this a fun read about secret at the bottom of the bog, it has many interesting facts about the animals who make bogs their home.  A great choice for the little scientists out there! 





HMMMM...Is it a Duck or is it a Rabbit?
In this book by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, optical illusions and forms in the clouds make for a fun read for both the kids and grown ups.



It Looked Like Spilt Milk by Charles G Shaw is another book about cloud formations.  After reading this book, kids can tear paper shapes into their own cloud shapes.....or even better...head out to a grassy hill and see shapes in real clouds.

HMMMM....is there an APP for that?  I hope NOT!










The Rabbit in Eric Rohmann's book My Friend Rabbit is not the Easter Bunny!  But this rabbit is infectious and the comical illustrations make it clear why it is a Caldecott Winner! 
It is always good to have a friend to tell you "Not to Worry.....I have an idea!"






Green by Laura Vaccaro Seeger is a simply beautiful book about the many things in the world that are green!  Another Caldecott Winner (2012) that has luscious illustrations and die cuts add to the book.






The Story About Ping by Marjorie Flack is a very very old story which has held its appeal over time.  The misadventures of a little lost duckling have just enough "drama" to keep the story interesting.  Everyone will sigh in relief when Ping is safe at home on the "wise-eyed boat which is his home"










There you have it.....some alternatives to Thomas the Train or SpongeBob books....I'm just sayin'!!!!

I could go on and on and on with more books that would be good fits for this list....but both you and I have other things to do!
But.....I would love to hear your additions to the list....add a comment and share with us!

Happy Spring!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Chalkboard Art Tips and Tricks


I did a lot of chalkboard writing " back in the day" before Smartboards replaced them.                                    I was pretty proud of my "teacher penmanship" skills!
It is humorous that chalkboards are " historical artifacts" in the classroom, and yet, those same chalkboards have become popular home decor accents!

I have a big chalkboard in the stairwell to the lower level




I recently found a cute little easel chalkboard at a consignment shop that fits perfectly on the kitchen counter.



I usually write something seasonal on the chalkboards.....but in all honesty...I have been feeling that my efforts would not get very good grades for creativity and penmanship!

 I decided it is time for me to spend some time perfecting....or at least improving.... my chalkboard art skills.  
I guess that might be an irony goal for a retired teacher....but heck...I have nothing but time now!  

Here is a round-up of all the great tips and techniques that are sure to turn my chalkboard art from novice to pro!

In My Own Style
Diane Henkler at In My Own Style has done  wonderful post with lots of tips.
This post has a link to some great fonts to download!
One of the tips that I found most helpful was how to season a new chalkboard to eliminate "ghosting".


Here is a post from Kelly at the Lily Pad Cottage.  Her 10 tips are worth taking a look at.

My favorite on this post was to use Q-Tips.....well why did I have to read this to figure it out????




Sara D at Sincerely SaraD has really nailed it with this tutorial for Perfect Chalkboard lettering.

I think I am going to stick with regular chalk.....somehow using markers seems like "cheating".

She does a chalk transfer technique that makes it simple to do "fancy" script with perfect spacing.

There is also a link to some font downloads here!



Tausha at Sassy Style Redesign has a list of great tips. 

My favorites:
Use the cheapest chalk....it is the best!
Use a make-up sharpener to sharpen your chalk!



I can't wait to start practicing my "art"! 
I will share when I have something I am proud of!
Now....off to spend a few minutes (hours???) searching Pinterest for just the right words!

Have  A Wonderful Day!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Friday Favorite-Burlap!

Burlap is more than just a "trendy" decor element here at Sweetwater!
So this Friday's Favorite is BURLAP!

First let's look check out some very fun ways to use burlap!
Clearly this potato sack dress is NOT on my list of sewing projects!


Burlap Decorating Ideas
Lots of furniture, curtains and other fun decor!






Who knew there is a whole website devoted to
BURLAP Projects?

You can find more than 50 clever burlap ideas over at
Saved By Love Creations


If you aren't tired of looking at burlap projects yet...
There are more than 100 on this link!
Check out the ruffled bedskirt.....can you just imagine what Mr. S would say about that!
 

















I always keep a couple of yards of burlap in the fabric stash and here are some reasons why!



It is a simple thing to stitch up some little burlap bags to cover the nursery pots that herbs come in.

Then a $2 purchase becomes a great party favor or hostess gift.

You could just tie a burlap square with some jute if you don't wan't to sew!





 

A burlaped covered brick tied with Gross grain ribblon makes a nice door stop!



There are so many cute printed burlap fabrics available....or you can stencil your own.











Instead of taking this houseplant out of the nursery container, it is just plopped into this great ceramic pot!

Some burlap makes a perfect "filler".  

The fabric is so unobtrusive that you really don't even see it. 

Burlap is not as messy as Spanish Moss so it is a great alternative.










I made these burlap "Puffs" in the fall.  I have been moving them all over the house....they tuck in nicely as textural interest.

They were made by using stick pins to stick circles of fabric into styofoam balls....cheap and simple.







Burlap ribbon is another nice staple to have on hand.  Obviously....you could cut burlap yardage into strips...which I have done on occasion....but the ribbon is nice given the price and convenience!






This little bit of decor was created by ("GASP" says the librarian) ripping the covers off of 3 old books from Goodwill and tying a bit of 5 inch burlap ribbon around the stack!








 When this favorite coffee table book got a water stain on it....

A burlap book cover came to the rescue!



So you can see why burlap is this Friday's Favorite!





 
In fact....it seems that the "burlap look" has been a favorite of mine for a pretty long time!
Case in point: This fabric swatch looks a lot like burlap....but it isn't!  

You have no idea how long I had to search for this upholstery to recover the living room sofa.....I wish it had been as inexpensive as burlap....but the neutral tone of the "upscaled" burlap look make it perfect for the clean and simple look I wanted.


I would love to see or hear how you use burlap!

Have a wonderful day!









Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Simple St. Patrick's Day Art

I like to add a bit of seasonal decor to the Baker's Rack in the kitchen.
I gathered some GREEN!
A green depression glass measuring cup and lemon/orange squeezer...
A fun 1930's Rum Rill Pottery Candle holder....
A Fiestaware Pitcher...
A green placemat....
AND
The framed Shamrock leaning on the shelf that was super simple to make!



I looked through all of my decorative paper stash....and found all of this "greenery"....
 

I used my Cricut and Sure Cuts a Lot software to cut an intricate Shamrock.







If you have a die cut machine I am sure there are Shamrock designs to buy....
OR
You could cut your own simpler design and the effect would be nice too!


A quick rummage through the stack of frames....and I found a nice square white one!
I spray mounted the cut-out to a black mat....
Cut a white mat....
and in about 15 minutes.....ART!


By the way....I am trying to find out if that little Rum Rill candlestick holder that I bought for $5.00 at Goodwill is worth anything!  Are there any experts out there who could help me find out?

There is still a week left before St. Patrick's Day.....you too could make yourself some art!

Have a Great Day!
Link Parties 

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Goodwill Style!

A couple of months ago, I was happily shopping at Goodwill!
You are probably saying..."How is that news?"
Well...I ran into a friend who was doing a thrift store style consult with Lindsey who is
 the owner of Fashion Fix MN!


Lindsey does closet organization and Wardrobe Styling.

The most fascinating part of what she offers is..... thrift store styling!

I watched the consult for a little while and then asked if I could shadow her sometime and watch this interesting process.

I did just that this week.  I spent an interesting couple of hours with watching her "work her magic"!
Come along and see!

Don't you just love the mission of Fashion Fix MN?

Her consultations are NOT just about scouring the racks for bargain clothing!  She is all about teaching her clients how to create a styled wardrobe (on a budget) by themselves after the session is over!

The process starts before the client arrives.

Lindsey whipped through all of the racks of clothing like the pro she is...

She had background information about her client so she can select sizes, colors and specific items that fit her needs.

She told me that she looks for quality of fabric and colors more than brands.
She also makes an attempt to move the client outside her "comfort zone"....but not too far!
I agree whole completely that Goodwill is a great place to "take a risk".  You can do that with thrift store items.....especially if some of those items are at green tag $1.99 prices!

Lindsey has built a good relationship with the staffs at all the thrift stores she uses.  
This means that they support her use of the facilities...a real help to have a clothing rack and understanding that she will be "monopolizing" a fitting room for an hour!
I noticed that the other shoppers are super interested in what she is doing, hanging out and listening to what she has to say!  

 The real fun began when Karin arrived!
For this consult....the client was interested in tops only!
Karin tried on with the different tops and then Lindsey styled the outfit with accessories and other layers!

This great looking orange top still had the store tags on!

The scarf is a great color match....but Lindsey did not recommend it for purchase....just for effect!

She spent time talking about why the scarf wasn't good....not enough fabric and quality...!

This knit blazer from the rack added a polished look to the top!

Karin's works as a home stager.  She commented that this look would make her feel professional and yet comfortable when she is meeting with her clients.





While the fit on this yellow top didn't work...it was the color that Lindsey wanted Karin to consider!

The 2 layerd loose long sleeved cardigan was a keeper!

Karin commented on it' versatility and comfortable style!


Truthfully...I wanted to sneak it into my OWN cart!






The print top here is an example of thinking out of Karin's comfort zone.

On the rack...the print has an "old lady" look!

Lindsey paired it with a knit blazer and noted that if you saw this at Anthropologie you would think it was the height of retro fashion!

For thrift store prices....worth the risk!






Color and fabric are the standout features of this pairing.

It is hard to see how really striking the color of this cardigan is.

The striped top is one of those "go to" items that Karin is sure to wear often.

Lindsey talked about different ways to pair each of these pieces.

So Karin isn't just getting a top and sweater....she is learning wardrobe confidence.







This top was a perfect choice for so many reasons!

Fabric, color, shape all fit Karin's style.



Notice the necklace!
I would never have picked this up from the rack....but it is just exactly what this top needed to go from great to amazing!











What a fun coincidence....Lisa, another of Lindsey's clients was in the store doing her own "independent" thrifting and when she saw Karin she stopped to show us her "finds"!
Hmmmm....

It looks like Lisa "learned" the styling lessons from her session with Karin!

The outfit she was wearing certainly "follows the rules"!










Lisa went into the dressing room next to Karin and got some on the fly styling from Lindsey!

A few little adjustments to the tie belt turned this cape into a fashion statement piece!


After the client tried on all of the different outfits, Lindsey walks away to let her decide what she really wants to purchase.

Lindsey does not pressure the client to buy anything!
Her mission is to teach the concepts of the styling and let the client make informed decisions!



I learned a lot during my shadowing experience.....
I was also affirmed about my own "Goodwill" philosophy!
Try new things....
Take a risk...
Get a bargain!
If you do not live in this area, there may be other stylists out there who do this type of thing.  If you know about anyone, add a comment.

If you do live in the Minneapolis Metro area.....take some time and visit the FashionFixMN to see if this is something you might be interested in doing!
Thank You Lindsey....it was great "Good Will Hunting" with You!

Have A Great Day!

Link Parties 








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