Monday, May 25, 2015

Quick Gift Bag Ideas and a Tutorial!


As May winds to an end.....Graduations and End of Year Thank-yous are upon us! 
I have to admit that I often give gift cards for these events!  
Graduates AND Teachers love gift cards!
The trick to making a gift card personal is the presentation!





These are the simplest little gift bags that you can make using a single piece of  decorative scrapbook paper!


I like the fact that there are two little pockets on bag.

One side for the gift card....
The other side for a heartfelt note!

Remember that those notes to thank the teacher are actually MORE appreciated than the actual gift.... In fact...you wouldn't even need a gift..just have one side include a thank-you from your student and the other side from you!




 I made the little green bag out of a half sheet of paper!

I put together a Pinterest Board with some other very fun gift card presentations!
Hop over and take a peek!


CUTE GIFT CARD PINTEREST BOARD

















If you are looking for some PUNtastic Teacher Appreciation gifts.....hop over to this post on Skip to My Lou!  Very Clever!!!!







Oh and I just had to share this link with a tutorial for making customized gift bags out of wrapping paper....GENIUS! 













Hope this post has inspired you....or at least reminded you.....about the gifts you need to organize in the next week!

Have A Great Day!




Link Parties


Monday, May 18, 2015

Extend the Life of Your Floral Arrangements!

It is easy to revive a floral arrangement with a little bit of time and very little effort!
Before you throw away your flowers....look closely to see if you can "redo" them!

These are the gorgeous Mother's Day flowers from
the Sweetwater Son-in-law and Grandbaby!


Alas.....

This was yesterday.....a week after they arrived.  

They still looked sort of OKAY...but the roses had shriveled and looked sort of sad.

You can see that there are lots of good looking flowers and greens left in the arrangement.

For some odd reason...the Lillies took a whole week to start opening....go figure!



It was time for a redo!
It is just a simple matter of taking everything apart and starting over!


Yup...everything came out of the old arrangement....

The floral foam was cut to fit a smaller vase.....

Fresh water and new floral food went in the vase....

Every stem got a new cut....
Old wilted leaves got pulled off....

The droopy roses were history!




Then the fun of rearranging the still good looking stems into a new arrangement!

Call me crazy....but to me...there really is something therapeutic about arranging flowers!



The finished "rearrangement" is almost as pretty as the original!
There was  one rose that was too nice to toss...it will go in a day or two....but in the meantime....

I bet this will look nice for another week!


Have A Great Day!  

Link Parties
Kammy's Korner   

Monday, May 11, 2015

The Sweetwater Fairies Have New Digs!

The Fairy House at Sweetwater took a real beating over the Winter!
Poor Fairies....it looked pretty rough!

This Fairy House was a nice STARTER HOME for the Sweetwater Fairies.....

I was going to try to do some repairs...

I decided that maybe with all the damage it had turned into a TEAR DOWN and maybe it was time for the fairies to get a serious UPGRADE!
 





The old Fairy Garden got demolished and the Landscape was cleared!

I decided to get Mr. S involved !
He was making a trip to the hunting land to pick up wood for the fireplace!

I asked him to look for a really BIG stump!




I am pretty good with my power tools.....but I am not so good with the chain saw!
So Mr. S helped out by fashioning a custom roof by cutting the pitched roof! (he was obsessing about the fact that the two sides are "uneven"...but I liked that look)



The next step was to create a Shake Style Roof using shim stock!

This size roof needed 6 packs of this.....the most expensive part of the project.





The shims are attached with staples.

 The power stapler made the job pretty painless.  Two people make it easier to get the shingles straight!




In reality....that is a pretty small roofing crew!



Once the first side was completely covered, the excess at the peak line was sawed off.

Then the other side....and that was trimmed.

The little piece of wood on the side of the house is just there for "architectural interest"!  It looks like a little side door to me!









I challenged myself not to purchase ANYTHING for the rest of the project.

Halloween Plaques Post


I used a piece of trim molding that was left over from a past project!

The left over piece was the perfect dimension for the door.....which got a coat of red paint to match the door on our house!


 








There were even holes drilled for nailing the door to the log.
I dug through my button collection and found the perfect rustic door handle!

The old red wooden door became the "front stoop"! 






Since the new Fairy House is pretty upscale... it deserved some pretty upscale windows.
HMMMMM......I had some glass tile leftovers from a past project....perfect for Stained Glass Fairy House Windows.

I forgot to take photos when I was doing the window construction.....but all I did was glue the tiles to a cardboard base using waterproof adhesive.  I added twigs for the window frames and glued them on with the waterproof adhesive.
(a little nail under the bottom of each window helped support the windows while the glue was setting up!)

I ran out of tiles....when I next visit the craft store....I will buy more for and make more windows!
I want to do some sort of Balcony with French Doors for the second story!


I am pretty excited about the way it turned out!
Come back tomorrow for the updated landscaping project for this Fairy Garden!


Today...I need to work on my MYSTERY THRIFT OFF project!
I am having fun with this and think I may have a chance to get some votes!
I need to keep this a secret until next weekend! Then you can see what I did with my popsicle sticks....and NO it isn't Fairy Garden accessories....that would be WAY too obvious!

Have A Great Day!














Thursday, May 7, 2015

Volunteers in the Garden A BONUS!


What a nice surprise it can be to notice new little plants coming up around where last year's plants were.  Now...people who like tidy organized gardens would say that these plants that are "out of place"!  They might even call them "weeds"!



Here at Sweetwater.....we believe in this old adage!

Some of you may not know that these little plants are called "volunteers"!

I have been finding many, many, many little volunteers all over the Sweetwater Garden!

Finding wonderful websites and resources for my projects and posts is a happy part of blogging!  All good posts have a little research behind them.

GARDENING KNOW HOW is the most amazing website!  You really should take a minute to hop over there and visit! I kept linking from one great article to the next!  But this quote from the article about "Serendipitous Gardening" was the perfect rationale I needed to "save and rescue" my little Sweetwater Volunteers!
"What is serendipity in the garden? Serendipitous gardening is and can be an interesting alternative to traditional gardening. Rather than going through the task of designing your garden to perfection, just sit back and allow nature to do all the work for you. This is, after all, what she does best, harmonizing the landscape by letting the plants choose what type of soil they prefer and in what area they would like to grow. Most of us are taught to take complete control of our gardening environment, but sometimes nature understands, better than we do, how to keep our gardens balanced."

Sometimes the volunteers end up in spots that really can't have plants....on pathways or next to plants that would suffer with the competition!

 These little Violet plants popped up in the rocks next to the front walk garden!


I dug them up and planted them in some of those little pots that are taking up space in the garage!



Look how happy this plant is in it's new planter!


















By doing this....I have potted plants to enjoy until the annuals go on sale at the nursery!


Mint is a plant that likes to spread all over.  It is so hardy that you can literally rip it up and plant it.

At the nursery....a mint plant costs like $4....and this one is FREE!

There used to be two pots of Hyssop....a licorice scented plant that pops up all over the gardens here!

I kept one and "gifted" the other to a friend who came to lunch this week!



The planters on the front steps are also waiting for annuals!

The plants you see here are snippets of Lady's Mantle.

This lovely perennial is a favorite of mine because of the wonderful chartreuse  colored blooms that will come in a month or so!

They create a nice "fill" for the early season.






I will add a couple of bright colored Geraniums and some other annuals this week.

This is a great way to avoid having to buy all of those expensive accent plants at the nursery!

When the Lady's Mantle is done blooming and starts to look "shabby", the annuals will be on sale at the nursery!

Thrifty....if I do say so myself!


I challenge you to wander your garden with your little shovel and take advantage of some "volunteerism"!

I am off to school today to "Be a Volunteer" for some terrific kids who need a little help "blooming"....how serendipitous is that?!

Hope YOU have a Wonderful Day!
Link Parties
Bowdabra 









Saturday, May 2, 2015

Fitz and Floyd for Spring!

May is here!  Time to spruce up the Baker's Rack in the kitchen!
I decided to highlight the Fitz and Floyd summer pieces in the Sweetwater Collection! 


I just love the Logo of the company!
It is so true!
One look and you do know!

When I go to the thrift store.....I am always on the lookout for items that shout "Fitz and Floyd"

As you can see....I have had some luck!
YES!  Every single piece you see came from the thrift store!




 Just for kicks....I went to see if I could find out if these pieces had any value.  I know that some of the designs are from retired collections.  I was amazed and pleased to find these pieces on Ebay!  Now....Mr. S is always reminding me that ebay prices aren't "real values"!  It is a matter of what someone will be willing to pay!  And as you can see by my thrift store mentality, I wouldn't be willing to pay this much!
STILL.....it is fun to see that my little collections has a bit of value!
AND.....my favorite "boutique" came through again!


  Have A Wonderful Day!





Link Parties

Simple Sweet Saturday  
It's Overflowing     Kammy's Korner   Funky Polka Dot Giraffe 





Thursday, April 30, 2015

I'm In a Mystery Thrift Off!

About a month ago, a friend sent me an intriguing email telling me about a cool project.






Lindsey over at Better After  was looking for applications to join her Mystery Thrift Off!


I looked at her post and figured....what the heck....and I applied!
Imagine my surprise....I was picked to be one of the participants!
If you want to see all the specifics of how this works, here is a link to Lindsey's post about the contest!

In a nutshell.....Lindsey has spent the last few weeks shopping the thrift stores for a UNIQUE  and VERY SPECIAL item for each of the contestants.

She sent them out to all of us this week!

Friday, April 24, 2015

DYI Lazy Lady Cold Frame!

 I am soooo anxious get started planting! Since Sweetwater is in Zone 4, the safe date for planting annuals is May 15th.....more than 3 weeks away!

One solution is to use a cold frame! That seems like a great idea....but it also seems like too big a project for the few herbs and vegetables we grow.

Besides....the vegetables have to grow on the deck to keep them away from the "critters" here at Sweetwater!  Giving up the space for a cold frame on the deck isn't practical!

Here is the solution that we devised!
This is a classic "Sweetwater Style Use What You Have" project!

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Thrifty Patio Table Refresh!

The lovely April weather here in Minnesota this year is a bit deceptive!  Days in the 70's make it a joy to get out and start clearing the gardens.  My solution to ease the  "gardening aches and pains" that are a result of way too much bending and pulling and digging is sitting on the deck with a cool beverage! 
Photo of the deck in 2012

The deck truly is a three season extra room in/out of our home!

We love the seating area with chairs around a round table with a copper inset for a planting.

Well....while I was sitting there relaxing.....
I noticed the surface of the top of the table!


YIKES!  Minnesota winters are hard on things!

In other years, I used Gel Stain and Polyurethane to refresh the surface! (Click to see how I did that)

But after doing that a couple of times, the situation called for something more drastic!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Spring Herb Basket!


Home Depot is selling 5 little pots of herbs for $10 this week!

That is a great deal.....but it is way too early here in Minnesota to put plants outside!

In fact....yesterday, I drove to a meeting through snowflakes bigger than cottonballs...go figure!

Since the herbs were such a bargain...I couldn't pass them up!

I put together this nice little basket for a centerpiece on the kitchen table.

Here are a couple of things I did to "style" this little basket!


Monday, April 6, 2015

Paloma Cocktail Recipe

We just got back from two wonderful weeks in Manzanillo, Mexico!
What a gorgeous place it is!

Much of the time we sat on the patio looking at this gorgeous view of the bay.

Thanks to the Sweetwater Brother and Sister-in-law who graciously share their condominium with us!

Now I bet you think that the the favorite cocktail in Mexico is a Margarita.....

Margaritas are very tasty.....and I love to order them when we are on the beach or at a restaurant....but they are seriously too sweet for me!

BUT THEN....I  discovered a new favorite that is much simpler to make at home!

And....(rumor has it that this is even more popular in Mexico than the Margarita)

The Paloma Cocktail
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