Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Easy and Pretty DYI Insect Repellent Lantern

Minnesota in the summer means lots of outdoor fun.
It also means that if you are outdoors you will probably get "bugged" by Mosquitoes.

Repelling bugs has a pretty high priority around here!
Here is a tutorial for a DIY Insect Repellent Lantern that I put together the other night.

Here was my inspiration.

I have a couple of gel fuel fire pots that are really pretty.

But.....that gel fuel is really pretty scary!

In fact, the pourable gel fuel has been recalled because of how dangerous it is!

I just knew I could find someone who had figured out how to recycle the gorgeous container into something practical. 

Citronella Patio Torch Fuel
This is about $10 at Home Depot
We had this in the garage so this brand is no longer available there. 
Any brand will do.

Pea Gravel

 You can buy a bag of this at Home Depot for a couple of dollars.  The bucket of this has been in our garage for a long time.  I use it for lots of stuff.....it makes a nice landscape path for the Fairy Garden!


Torch Replacement Wick

This pack of 2 cost $4.00 at Home Depot.  They are long enough to cut into thirds enough for six lanterns.
Fireproof Container with some sort of lid 

I had 2 gel pots with inserts.
Then I got out an old cheese crock with a top that will work.
Mason jars will work too.  They are shatterproof.

Put the pea gravel in the container around the wick.
Pour the citronella oil over the rocks.
Light it up!

Looks and sounds like a pretty simple project!
Well......sort of!
I lit the wicks and you can see that the flame is a BIT out of control!
Here is what I learned!
More to the point.....this is what Mr. S who is a member of NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) taught me!!!!  Yikes....what was I thinking.....doing a FIRE related project when the "fire safety police" lives in the house!

The wick can't be too tall!
The rocks can't go right up to the top!
There can't be too much oil in the container!
You'd better check to be sure your container is high temp safe!
You probably shouldn't burn these on a wood deck!

After learning all of these safety precautions.....and fixing some of the problems.....the little lamps look great and let off a nice amount of citronella vapor!

 To make Mr. S happier...I will move these down to the fire pit ledge!  The bugs are worse down there anyway!

Here is a nice website with lots of ideas for Insect Repellent Lanterns!
Don't you love the simplicity of these Mason Jar Lamps?
 Last.....but not least....just so the Fire Safety Police know that I was listening and paying attention!

Have A Wonderful Day....
Hope NOTHING is BUGGING you today!

Friday, July 3, 2015

Simple Summer Decor

Ahh July and Summer is really full on!

It is time to put some simple summery touches in the decor around here.

Using "what I have" and not spending any money is my challenge.

There are some things that just say "SUMMER".  It is just a matter of gathering those things and placing them around the house!

This nice big stack of fluffy white towels on the rack in the master bathroom certainly says "Summer"!

Nothing could be easier!

The ottoman in the living room is slipcovered with washable off-white damask fabric.  It easily comes off for washing....so it is no problem to put your feet up and relax. 

 There are usually 2 red pillows on the sofa.  I took them off and they are down in the sewing room waiting for Summer Slipcovers.

I have a really fun technique for these summer pillows.  I will write about that when I finally get them finished.

In the meantime, the two pillows you see in the photo are made from some silk/cotton blend sweaters I bought at Good Will.

The Good Will mirror on the ottoman is a great display space.  The bowl is a new Fitz and Floyd find from goodwill.  It is filled with shells and potpourri.  Bags of potpourri found at the thrift store are great buys.  The "stuff" in them is always so interesting.

The Hurricane Lantern is one of six that I have collected over the years.  I use them in so many different ways through the year.

Yup, that is one of those flameless candles....I am over how they aren't "real" in the name of not worrying about safety!

A summer hat tossed on the entryway table along with a straw beach bag look like I am ready to head to the beach at any moment! 

I bet you have a fun hat hiding in your closet that could make a "Summer Statement" in your decor. 

Mine reminds me of the straw farm hat that used to hang in the hallway at Grandma and Grandpa's farm when I was a little girl.

Picnic baskets are also iconic summer items.  This one is sits in the kitchen looking like we are off to have a dinner OUT! 

We aren't much about picnics so chances are that won't happen.....

but hey...
we can always drink the wine on the deck.

OR...I can see if Marvin will get in and I can pretend to be Dorothy in OZ!

Switching out the photos around the house to reflect happy Summer memories is another simple decor option.

So there you have it! 
Simple things that anyone can do to add some touches of Summer around the house without spending any money!

I have some more ideas....but I have to get on with the pillow project!

Have a Wonderful Day!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Upscaled Grocery Bouquet

My niece has become an event planner KOVENT! She asked me to put together some flowers for a networking event this week. If you need an event planner and live in the Minneapolis area, check her out!

The Sweetwater garden has some flowers....but they just weren't "fancy" enough for this.

So off to the grocery store with a budget of $15 in mind.

There were a couple of clear glass vases in the basement that were just taking up space.

Time to upscale a basic bouquet of flowers.

It is a simple matter to take bunch and arrange it in an interesting way!

Grocery Flower Bouquet
Greenery from the garden
Glass Vases
Wet Floral Foam

Using big Hosta leaves is a great trick for hiding the floral foam or the stems of flowers in a clear vase.

 Just cut the stems off the Hosta and wrap them inside the vase.  It is a nice contemporary look.

It was lots of fun to put these together.
I got my creativity on!
 Here is the result!
 The chartruese fill is from a plant called Lady's Mantle.  This is a staple in the Sweetwater garden because I love the way the lacy blooms look in flower arrangements.  It blooms at just the time the Peonies do and it such a colorful accent.

 The inexpensive bouquet had a great little ornamental cabbage that was a really pretty accent.
One orange rose in each arrangement were a nice pop of color.

Adding a bit of grapevine and raffia really finished off the arrangements!

Wouldn't you say that these don't look to shabby?
For less than ten bucks a piece.....and about 20 minutes of time....they look pretty darn nice!

Have a Wonderful Day!

Link Parties
Natasha in Oz   

Monday, June 22, 2015

Monday Musings

It is a dark and stormy morning here at Sweetwater!
A great morning for a cup of coffee and some MUSING!

One of my blog feeds is a lovely blog by Tish Jett called  A Femme d'Un Certain Age.

Her blog is a fascinating read all from the point of view of an American in Paris.   She is all about analyzing, dissecting and incorporating the "French Style" for us.

I highly recommend that you find your own beverage of choice and sit down to browse through some of Tish's Musings.

I read one her blog posts about Uniform Dressing a few weeks ago and it really stayed with me.  Her take on wardrobe simplicity is truly spot on.

In the post she made a list.  I LOVE her list!  I certainly wouldn't claim to be a fashionista, but I do like fashion and an ease in being somewhat fashionable.
So, I am sharing that list with some Sweetwater Style musings on her thoughts.  Enjoy!

"It takes no more time to be stylish than it does to be sloppy."
 This is a no brainer!  When you go to your closet to pick what you are going to wear, it is just as easy to pick out things that you know go together and look nice on you.  Even your yoga pants and t-shirts can be chosen with style in mind. 
 No woman really wants to be invisible does she?
"Taking care of one’s clothes makes them last longer."
It is rarely necessary to dry clean any clothes. Goodwill "finds" are often there because the label says "dry-clean only"!  Even cashmere and silk can be carefully laundered on the gentle cycle.  Quality clothing is made from fabrics that stand up over time.  Because of that I have good quality stuff purchased at thrift stores that still look great after 5-10 years of wear. 

"Frenchwomen make sure that everything in their closets is ready-to-wear."
If the clothes in your closet are clean, ironed with all buttons in place and hemmed to the right length, then anything you see can be put on.  Keep clothes that need tending to in another place and try to take care of those "fixes" soon.
"Taking care of one’s clothes means you’ll always have something to wear."

All budgets can be accommodated.  
Well....this is truly the Sweetwater Style point of view!  So many of my favorite wardrobe items are from thrift stores.  Why in the world would I want to spend lots of money buying basic things for retail prices when they can be had for a fraction of the price. Style does NOT have to be expensive.  I hear people talking about how much time it takes to shop at the thrift store.  But for me...it seems more time consuming to go to the mall and shop all day for "just the right" outfit.  I always have a much harder time deciding what to buy if I am going to have to spend "big bucks".  I also know that I am willing to take a risk and buy something a bit outrageous if I am paying thrift store prices.  These gems often become the things that I reach for over and over again because they are FUN!

It’s depressing to have an overflowing closet and nothing to wear.  
Tish is all about "Uniforms Dressing".  She makes the case that if you take the time to analyze your own style and choose items that work together to become your "uniform" it is liberating and not boring.  Maybe it is black leggings and loose tops.  Maybe it is long loose skirts and t-shirts or jeans and crisp white shirts.  Whatever...it is just a matter of taking those basics and adding a few accessories.  And hey...shopping for accessories is lots of fun.
Your "uniform" means that you will always have something to put on! I have on my "to do list" to cull my closet of those things that I don't wear because they no longer fit my life style.  Wish me luck with THAT!

 Making the effort to look stylish is psychologically healthy.
Right now I am sitting in my sleep pants and a plain sleeveless t-shirt.  Since they came from Good Will, they are nice enough.....but not terribly stylish!  Honestly, when I walk by the mirrors in the house, I am less than "happy" with the look.  It is time to take the 5 minutes it will take to go put on something else.  It will be an attitude changer that won't take much effort. We all know the feeling of going out and about not looking our best.  It never fails....you will run into a friend....or worse an aquaintance....and wonder what they are thinking!  Not worth the stress! 
Looking good makes you feel better.

"Dressing down sends a message of “I don’t care about me” 
(or you either for that matter)."
When you choose to wear things that go beyond casual to sloppy you are actually telling the people you are with that you don't value spending time with them enough to make an effort to be your best.  Of course, how you interact with people is always more important than how you look.  But if looking good makes you feel better, then you will be more comfortable with your interactions.  Nothing is more boring than a conversation that starts with an apology about how "terrible" you look.  Way better to say...."don't we look fabulous!" and get on with having fun.

I am off now to get out of my current outfit and put on something presentable.
I hope you take some time to go read more inspriration from  

The rain has stopped and it is time to stop MUSING!
Have a Wonderful Day!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Zen Inspired Mantel!

You should sit in meditation for twenty minutes every day – unless you’re too busy; then you should sit for an hour.

— Old Zen adage
Obviously....Marvin takes this adage to heart!

He has discovered the cushions in the Yoga room and "meditates" there for hours! 

It was time to give the mantel in the family room a seasonal update.
Of course....I wanted to "Use what I Have"!
I decided to go with a tranquil and simple ZEN look!

The process was pretty simple!
I went out in the garden and cut a bunch of different big Hosta leaves.
Those went into two big off white Haeger vases from my Goodwill collection.
I added some white-washed curly sticks as accents.
Then...I put this wonderful big smooth "yoga rock" on a pedestal that is just another off-white Haeger vase tipped upside down.
Very ZEN don't you think!?

I headed to the Yoga room....

(I was careful NOT to interrupt Marvin's meditation session!)

The canvas Gingko print is one that I found a few years ago at Goodwill.

It usually hangs on the wall in the Yoga room...but seemed to be the perfect accent for the Zen mantel!

The total look is just what I was aiming for.
Simplicity, tranquility....but most of all Thrifty!

Maybe this has inspired you to "shop" your house and yard for your own decor change up!
or at least.....inspired you to go sit quietly for awhile!
Marvin highly recommends it!

Have a Wonderful Day!

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Flower Arrangement Goodwill Boutique Style!

Oh My!  
I realized that I haven't done a post about GoodWill for awhile!
That doesn't mean I haven't been hitting my favorite boutique "Bonne Volanté"!
I put together a fun arrangement for the family room coffee table using some stuff from there!

Monday, June 8, 2015

My Mystery Thrift Off Reveal!

I just know you all have been waiting to see what I came up with for my entry into the Mystery Thrift-Off that is going on over at Lindsey's Better After Blog!

I bet every day at least once....you think to yourself..."I wonder what the Sweetwater Mystery Thrift-off entry will be?"  Seriously....if that is true....hmmmmm!

Well...TAH DAH!
It is time to reveal what I did with this pile of tiny little popsicle sticks mixed in with some regular sized ones!

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Lighten Up! Summer Look For The Couch!

Summer is really here!

Time for the couches at Sweetwater to change into their Summer wardrobe!

Summer calls for smooth, cool fabric and a lighter color palette!

It is pretty simple to make "pseudo summer slipcovers" with very little sewing!

I love how changing out JUST the cushions on the couch creates the Summertime feel I am after!

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Peony Time: Make it Last Longer

It is ALMOST Peony time at Sweetwater!

I walked through the garden yesterday and was amazed to see how 
the blossoms are getting fuller and fuller!

almost....almost.....but probably at least a week away from full bloom!

I can hardly wait until the whole side yard is filled with peonies....
I can hardly wait until I can fill vases and vases with these showy blooms...
Alas...the blooming season for Peonies is short and often affected by late spring rainstorms!
If you are like me you probably want your peonies to bloom longer....and....while that is NOT possible....

There is a way!
There is a way that works!
There is a way I have been doing this for more than 5 years!

Friday, May 29, 2015

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