Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Quick Flower Arranging Tip

Hurrah! The Zinnia's are in full bloom!
These garden flowers make wonderful flower arrangements.

I have been using a "ball" of chicken wire to support the stems in my Zinnia arrangements this summer. 
A big roll of this stuff is great to have on hand in your supply closet. 
I still love fresh floral foam to support stems, but the chicken wire is reusable, making it a thrifty choice!

 Harvesting zinnias at the right stage is essential to getting a long vase life.  Harvest too soon and the stems will bend and droop; wait too long and the blooms fade quickly.  A really simple way to see if your zinnias are ready to harvest is by doing the “wiggle” test.  Simply grab the stem about 8 inches below the flower and give it a gentle shake.  If it’s immature, the stem will be soft and bend easily.  If it is ready to harvest, the stem remains stiff and upright when you wiggle it.  It’s time to cut!  Cut deeply on the plant to get a long, strong stem. Remove the foliage and don’t be afraid to cut off side shoots on the main stem you just harvested.  Zinnias are a  “cut and come again” flower, so when you cut the plant “hard,” it responds by sending out even more long, strong stems all season long. (http://www.floretflowers.com)

Conditioning Zinnias is really simple and worth the effort.
There are several schools of thought on conditioning Zinnias.
This is the way I do it.... 
Place stems in boiling water for a few seconds. Condition overnight in tepid water. Zinnias last better if plants are watered before they are cut.   

If you want to read more about conditioning different flowers, this link is great!
The Garden Club of Brookfield Connecticut   

And now I will close with some Zinnia inspirations for you! 

 Have A Great Day!

Monday, August 22, 2016

Fancy Schmancy Refrigerator Art Display!

Back to School time means that your favorite kids will be bringing backpacks filled with their artistic endeavors!
Slapping that artwork up on the refrigerator is the typical way to display these treasures.
Why not elevate your typical refrigerator display so that it has  "Gallery" style?
Adding a mat to a any photo or art piece makes it seem special!

Now...if you follow my blog...you know that I do a lot of custom matting with my trusty Logan Mat Cutter!

The $200 spent on this tool was one great investment....but that is a story for another day!

So....for this project....I used it to cut an 11 x 14 mat with an opening of a little bigger than 8 x 10.
The ability to cut a custom opening for any piece of artwork is what makes having your own cutter so nice!

You can still do this without a mat cutter!
(or you could come over to Sweetwater and I will let you use mine!)

Amazon sells this set of 10 picture mats with backs for $19.99

Once you have the mats, you will glue JUST THE TOP of the mat to the backing.

This allows you to slide the artwork in.

It also allows you to change them easily when a new masterpiece comes your way.

I just use a bit of rolled tape in the bottom corners to secure the edge.

Amazon also sells a set of 100 round craft magnets....or you may be able to find these at the dollar store

Glue one magnet on each corner of the backing.

In about 10 minutes...
you can create something pretty "fancy schmancy"!

Have a Wonderful Day!
Link Parties
Make It Pretty Monday

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Dawn and Vinegar Magical Cleaner

Do those Dawn dish soap commercials tug at your heart the way they do mine?

The commercials  prove what a great grease cutter and cleaner this amazing soap is!

Everyone also touts the effectiveness of vinegar as a cleaning agent.

It only makes sense that if you put the two together they would work even better.

So after reading about this a couple of months ago....I decided to try it. 

I imagine that many of you are sitting there saying "what took her so long to discover this?"
Who knows....but I do know that this stuff is truly magical....

The recipe is simple: 
Use equal parts Dawn Soap and White Distilled Vinegar.
  1. Heat vinegar in microwave until hot and pour into squirt bottle.
  2. Add the Dawn soap. Put the lid on and gently shake to incorporate.
You really don't have to heat the vinegar to have the stuff work, but it doesn't hurt either.

Here are some things that you can use this solution for:
  •  clean soap scum and tub and shower buildup with just a little scrubbing
  •  clean sinks
  • greasy build up on the grill
  • use instead of plain dish soap on baking or broiler pans with baked on grease
 If you don't believe me.....because you might have noticed that I am not sharing amazing before and after photos.....here is an article from Sisters Shopping On a Shoestring with that photographic evidence!


If you haven't tried this stuff yet...you really need to!
If you already make your own magic....share your success stories.

Have a Great Day!

Friday, August 5, 2016

Vacation Memories Art Project

We just got back from a trip to Voyageur's National Park.
What fun....and yes...I actually caught a fish or two!
In fact...I was voted "most improved" fisherman in our group.
That wasn't hard considering that on the first day I couldn't even make my reel work!

I never did get over the gag reflex about the whole sticking the worm on the hook deal!

Of course we took bunches and bunches of photos.
It is so easy to take too many pictures....and then it is so hard to figure out what to do with them.

This article from the Washington Post has some great suggestions for organizing and "doing something" with those photos.  These tips are definitely on my to do list!

I am not much for scrapbooking....so I also enjoyed this article about NON-scrapbooking ways to remember your vacation.

This quick craft is a way to turn a scenic photo into canvas art at home.

What you need:
a scenic vacation photo
photo editing software or APP
canvas "paper" for your printer purchased or DIY (directions here)
frame (no glass)
fabric covered mat (tutorial follows)

One of our favorite places in Manzanillo, Mexico is Playa la Audencia.
The Waterlogue App for iPad is free.
This app makes it easy to create a watercolor effect with any photo.

This photo turned watercolor is a wonderful memory of our favorite spot.

Somehow...the original went "missing" in all of the zillions of Mexican vacation photos.....

This is one from the same day to give you an idea of the scene.

If you look closely in the watercolor version, you will see Mr. S in his classic "kicked back" position!  

Don't you think it adds an even more personal touch to the image?

Then it is a simple matter of printing the water color image on canvas.
Here are the directions for DIY printing on fabric.

I removed the glass from a frame I had.
I decided that a fabric covered mat would look nicer than plain mat board.

The finished project is a nice addition to the beach themed table in the entry way.
Adding the "caption" makes this a wonderful vacation memory.

I am in the process of doing one from our fishing trip.
I have the frame with the mat done  
Here is the tutorial for covering a mat with fabric.

Start with a plain mat cut to size.

 Use an adhesive spray to attach the fabric.

 Press the fabric smoothly on the mat.

 Cut an x from corner to corner.

Fold the sections back and press well.

I use mounting tissue to attach them to the back.
You can just use tape.

The burlap looks nice...but those frayed corners will need a little attention with some glue.

Insert the mat into the frame and you have a nice fabric mat that looks good without glass.

Now it is just a matter of figuring out which scenic photo to use for my water color technique.


Now wasn't that a sneaky way to make you look at our vacation pictures?

Have a Wonderful Day!

Friday, July 22, 2016

Almost NO SEW Outdoor Box Cushion and Tablecloth

A trip to the fabric store is always one of the best ways for me to get inspired.

I found this fabric in the $5 a yard bin.
It has a monkey motif!
I love monkeys!

Since 2016 is the Year of the Monkey, it was the perfect fabric to inspire one of my "almost NO SEW" projects.

In fact, why stop at one project?

If one is good....two is better!

These two projects are the perfect color boost for the deck.
The furniture on the deck is pretty neutral....black and taupe.
The greenery is sometimes a little overwhelming.
The flowers this year are nice, but they need a punch of color.

Almost No Sew Weighted Tablecloth

The table has a glass top that always gets water spotted.
I cut the fabric one inch bigger than the glass.
Then I did a simple hem.
If you want to make this "totally" NO SEW, you could use fusible iron on webbing to secure the hem.
But here is the tricky little thing that makes the table cloth stay in place.
Every 6 inches there is a little washer sewn into the hem.
This keeps the cloth weighted enough to stay flat even on the windiest afternoon!
The total time for this....about 45 minutes!

 Almost NO SEW Box Cushion
Would you believe that this cushion was done in less than an hour?
(I had a piece of foam that needed an update, but you can have one cut at the fabric store to just the size you need)
Well, if you can wrap a gift box, you can cover a foam cushion!
I used the sewing machine to make a tube that was the exact width of the foam.
If you don't want to sew....you could even use your glue gun to close the long edge.

Just tuck the fabric in like you were wrapping a present....

I used a needle to hand sew these edges....but the glue gun or fusible web would work too.

Not bad for a couple of hours and less than $15 dollars.

If you want more complete directions and want some more inspiration, here are a couple of links to my tutorials for the no sew cushion technique.



If you are like I am....you don't want to spend buckets of money on custom cushions....
Outdoor cushions have a limited life span....and being able to change them in an inexpensive way just seems smart!


Have a Wonderful Day!

Linking to:
Sunny Simple Life
Eclectic Red Barn   
Stone Cottage Adventures
Funky Polka Dot Giraffe 

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Dollar Store Craft WITH Caffiene!

The perfect combination!
I wouldn't say that I am addicted to crafting...well maybe a little obsessed...not addicted!
I would have to admit that I am addicted to coffee.
The aroma...
The taste...
The warmth...
The BUZZ... 
It is all good!

There are some things you can do with coffee besides drinking it!

How simple to make aromatic candles using coffee beans and votives.

Put some coffee beans in a pretty glass, vase or funny coffee cup to make a pencil holder.

When you pick up a pencil, you get a little hint of coffee aroma!

Funny story....I used to do this for the coffee holders in the Media Center.

Great idea....until...I got a phone call from a parent informing me that some of the kids were EATING the beans to get a caffeine buzz!


This is a wreath I saw hanging on the door of a coffee shop in New Orleans this winter.
I took the picture thinking, "I could make one of these!"

It took me seven months to finally get around to doing it!

A dollar store foam wreath is the base. 

This burlap ribbon was another find at the dollar store.

 The ribbon is wrapped around the foam base to make sure none of the green would show through.

No coffee related project should happen WITHOUT a cup of coffee.
Trusty glue gun heated up....
Coffee beans at hand....
It is just a matter of gluing those babies on.....

So I glued and glued and glued!

I have to admit...
This took a little longer than I had hoped!

AND.....my fingers ended up dark brown with a few glue gun burns.

In fact...I did this over the course of a couple of days!

No one ever accused me of having a long attention span!

ESPECIALLY when I am drinking coffee!

Perserverance paid off!
With a burlap bow and a favorite coffee quote, this little craft turned out well.

I was hoping the wreath would give off a bit of aroma.
It doesn't!
I was hoping that the project would lend itself to a "gift project".
But I know I won't have the patience to do this again.
So my friends....if you want one of these...you will have to make it yourself!

Have A Wonderful Day!
Link Parties
Bouquet of Talent