Saturday, September 15, 2018

Slowly Embracing Fall

The temps are going to hit 90 degrees today.....thoughts of sweaters, boots, and pumpkin flavored food makes NO SENSE!

Why is it that people seem to get euphoric over the fact that Autumn is upon us?

 




I imagine that if you have been trying to manage the schedules of a bunch of kids on summer break, the idea that the school system will take over is NOT a bad thing!  That is a good reason to say Hurrah Fall.





I imagine if you live in a place where the temperatures and humidity are oppressive for many days in the summer, the arrival of cooler days is NOT a bad thing.

But....for me....no kids to wrangle any longer....and living in a state where Autumn can mean SNOW....I am not so quick to jump on the pumpkin wagon!
Source
I LOVE summer!!!  Let me repeat...I LOVE SUMMER!
Alas...there is not much I can do to stop the calendar pages from turning.

This year I decided to make the transition SLOWLY!

I am slowly packing away the summer decor around here and putting out some touches of the Autumn season.

I stitched up some new covers for the chairs in the family room.  They are quite a bit more fall like than the turquoise and blue ones that were there before.

Away went the starfish and beach scenes by the fireplace.

I used a photo editing app to turn this fall photo into a watercolor look.

 The coffee table arrangemen is just some spheres with interesting textures and cotton bolls.  Nothing a Grand can't touch and explore!


The baker's rack has autumn tones with the copper items. 
The bowls are filled with some artificial produce.....yup...I am turning into that dotty old woman with WAXED FRUIT! 




But hey....the Sweetwater Grandgirl loves to put the food in her grocery cart and push it around.

















 The wreath on the front steps lost the patriotic red, white, and blue.  Sunflowers and dried grasses have a nice transitional look.  I even broke down and added a couple of scarecrows and pumpkins.


These little nods to the season are just enough to head toward Autumn.
It is supposed to stay really warm around here for a few more days...
And just so you know.....I am still wearing my WHITE JEANS....2 weeks after Labor Day...So There!

Summer "Ain't" over until I decide it is over!

Have A Wonderful Day!




Wednesday, August 29, 2018

These Chairs Have History!

You know the old saying, "everything old is new again"?
The idea that mid-century modern furniture is uber popular kind of makes me smile.
You know....that stuff we thought looked so tacky in our parent's living rooms.....??
That is the stuff our kids lust after at Wayfair and West Elm.

Like this:

westelm.com


overstock.com
Well.....
Look at these chairs!
They may not have quite the same "fancy-ness" as the West Elm or Overstock versions, but they have something that I like even better!



They have HISTORY!

One of the chairs actually came from Coffman Memorial Union at the U of M!

It was given to us by a friend who somehow "liberated" it sometime in the late 1960's! 
I have fond memories pulling a couple of these chairs together to take a study break while I waited between classes.  So when we had the chance to have one to furnish our apartment, we jumped at the chance.

 Through the years, the single chair got lots of makeovers.  New cushion covers and even a coat of white paint.  I was never able to discard it....but always tucked it in the corner.

The other chair doesn't have quite as clear a provenance.  It was a streetside rescue.....saved by the Sweetwater Daughter a couple of decades later!

It only made sense that our old chair would join the "new chair" in her house...
Until.....
She found some new chairs and wondered what to do with these treasures...

I knew!
....a trip to the fabric store was in order.
This really nice faux leather was perfect. Maybe I should call it VEGAN leather?
Anyway....the color was perfect and it would also solve the problem of cat hair on the cushions when company comes.  Just a quick wipe and even people wearing black can sit on them.


 The project of recovering them was a combination of wrapping and sewing.  This is one of those times when a "tutorial" doesn't make sense.  Every chair project is different.  My advice to you if you want to try something like this....just start!  Worst case....you can take it to a "real" upholstery shop.


 I think these were worth the effort!

Now...when people lust over "vintage" furniture...I can smile and know I have the real deal in the living room

In case you were wondering about the difference between antique, vintage and retro, read on!
Here is what the good folks over at Apartment Therapy have to say!
OFFICIAL DEFINITIONS:
What is antique?
According to Merriam Webster, an antique is "a relic or object of ancient times" or "a work of art, piece of furniture, or decorative object made at an earlier period and according to various customs laws at least 100 years ago." Ruby Lane, an online marketplace of independent antique and collectible shops, offers a similar definition, explaining, "Most authorities consider the actual definition of the term 'antique' to mean an age of at least 100 years. If an item is not definitively datable to 100 or more years in age, it should not be directly referred to as an antique."
What is vintage?
If antiques are things that are 100 years old or older, what are vintage pieces? The defnition of vintage is trickier. According to Merriam Webster, the term vintage relates primarily to wine and is an altered form of the French word vendage, meaning "the grapes picked during a season." One of its secondary definitions is "a period of origin or manufacture" (e.g., a vintage 1960s Mercedes) or "length of existence: age." Ruby Lane provides a much more helpful explanation, noting that "an item described as 'vintage' should speak of the era in which it was produced. Vintage can mean an item is of a certain period of time, as in "vintage 1950's" but it can also mean (and probably always should) that the item exhibits the best of a certain quality, or qualities, associated with or belonging to that specific era. In other words, for the term vintage to accurately apply to it, an item should be somewhat representational and recognizable as belonging to the era in which it was made." Ruby Lane also suggests that 'vintage' should not be used in reference to objects less than 20 years old.
What is retro?
According to Merriam Webster, retro is "relating to, reviving, or being the styles and especially the fashions of the past : fashionably nostalgic or old-fashioned." Retro furniture may not actually be old but it references styles of the recent past. Retro can also mean something that is not very old but is old enough to be more than just "so last season". (i.e., the woman wearing the early 80s high-waisted jeans because she hasn't updated her wardrobe since the Reagan Administration is not retro. She is just outdated.) I am still not entirely clear on the difference between retro and vintage, I must admit. There seems to be some overlap. For whatever reason, "retro" makes me think of mod, geometric shapes and "vintage" conjures up images of faded, floral fabrics. But that's just me!

Good to know!
Tee Public


Have A Great Day!

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Simple No Fuss Outdoor Tablecloth

The table on our deck has a glass top.
The shape and size of the table is great.
The metal edge matches the other furniture.
BUT....



I obsess over all the water spots and other outdoor "schmutz" that gets on the glass!

I really do not want to have to wipe the table down every time we go out to use it.....

And just looking at it....is annoying!






I want some sort of "semi-permanent" covering on the table.
It needs to be weather resistant and sturdy.


I found some table cloth ideas out there:

I found a mitered fitted cover at Smashed Peas and Carrots, 

http://smashedpeasandcarrots.com/the-perfect-fit-tablecloth-tutorial/

 There is an elasticized tablecloth on Amazon....heck...I suppose I could even make one of these....

I made this one a few years ago.  It has weights sewn in the hem to keep it in place.
Read about it here:  http://sweetwaterstyle.blogspot.com/2016/07/almost-no-sew-outdoor-box-cushion-and.html


I still have this...but the decor on the deck has changed.
I headed to the fabric store to find an sunbrella fabric to make another just like it...

AND THEN...I came across something called Ballistic fabric.  It looks like the stuff that outdoor chairs have for seats.
I got mine at a fabric outlet store for 9.99 a yard.  Here are some specifics and a source if you are interested.


The plastic woven fabric is the perfect solution.  It just needed to be cut to size.  By cutting it exactly to fit into the metal frame,  the fabric almost looks like it has been "glued" down.









The raw edge doesn't look too bad, but I decided to use the built in embroidery stitch on my sewing machine to add a little "fancy".



This simple solution makes a nice alternative to constantly wiping away water spots.
The ballistic cloth can be scrubbed with a brush and hosed off when it does get dirty.


Soooo....Simple!

Have A Great Day!

Friday, August 3, 2018

Foiling the Felines!

Marvin the cat has developed the most annoying habit/craving!

Back in the day...."cute little Marvin" just slept in the green grass and DID NOT eat it!

 He seems to NEED to eat almost any foliage that is in any floral arrangement in the house.
He doesn't bother the house plants....just the greenery in flowers.
And of course.....after munching....there is the puking that follows!

In fact....he even tries to eat the husks on the sweetcorn if it is sitting on counter....go figure!!!!

Now...you know I am NOT going to give up having flowers in the house!!!
And....you know that a flower arrangement needs green filler to look pretty!!

What to do?
Wanna see?

 These lovely Sunflowers just cried out for Hosta leaves.....Marvin's absolute FAVORITE greens to munch on....
Since that wasn't an option.....


 I headed to the craft store and bought the best looking "permanent botanicals" that I could find.

I looked for things that are often used as fill at the florist shop.

Total investment: $18.00

But....the proof is in the photos.

Look again at the sunflowers.
You have to look really hard to see that they are not real.

In fact....Marvin keeps sniffing them...and then turning to give me his best "stink-eye"!

Here are some more examples.





These Zinnias are tucked into some Dollar Store ferns and spiked grass.  There is a little real pachysandra too....that is one that Marvin doesn't eat.
















Now obviously, I would rather use real greenery.
But given the choice of using artificial greens with real flowers or cleaning up cat vomit....I bet you can guess which one I pick.

Have A Blooming Great Day!


Monday, July 30, 2018

Flower Arranging: How To Keep Them In Place

This is the time of year to sit back and enjoy the fruits of gardening labors!
A stroll through the garden will reap lots of flowers to make arrangements with.
If you don't have a garden spot, the local Farmer's Markets can supply you with flowers for very little money.

So many people tell me how intimidated they are about arranging flowers.
Knowing how to support and keep the stems in place will take the mystery out of flower arranging.
Once you know these different tricks, your creations will have that professional look you want.

Floral Foam (the wet kind!!!)
This is by far the easiest way to create a formal arrangement. Floral foam lets you have the stems come out at angles.  Your ability to control the arrangement is limited only by your artistic eye. Once you create the arrangement, keep the foam hydrated and it will last a pretty long time.  Floral foam CAN NOT be reused successfully.  This makes it sort of an expensive option. Amazon has the foam for a couple dollars a block.  But the more you buy the cheaper it is....I just ordered 36 blocks for 20 bucks...but then....I do a lot of flower arranging!!!

Flower Frogs

A flower frog is a glass or metal object with holes in it to hold and support flower stems. There are glass, metal and ceramic frogs.  It is a good idea to watch for them at the thrift store or yard sales.
Sometimes I use these as pencil holders.





According to hearthandvine.com "It seems that no one knows the origin of the term “frog,” though most agree it must have become a slang term for the fact that they sit in water, like a frog. ... In the mid 1950s, however, a water-absorbent foam, called “Oasis,” was invented, driving the flower frogs to near extinction. "  

Tape Cross Hatch Grid

 You can create a cross hatch of floral tape on the top of a vase if you have a lot of patience and dexterity.

Me....not so much!  I never have seen the point of this.

But......if you are one of the many Mason jar lovers.....you can buy this insert to create a grid for your flowers.  Not a bad idea.





Chicken Wire or Rabbit Fencing

Using chicken wire is a cost effective alternative to floral foam.  It is not as easy to work with, but it makes a strong support grid for stems. 


 
Chicken wire is kind of "pokey" and you need a tin snips to cut your piece to size.
Using plastic "rabbit fencing" solves those problems.  The plastic can be used over and over again.

You can buy the plastic mesh fencing at most garden stores.  25 feet is a lot...maybe you could split it with a friend or two.

Since we have rabbits eating our plants...we had this lying around here!









The piece of the plastic is cut to size and pushed down into the container.

The flowers are easy to arrange using this grid support.

Foliage as Support

Sometimes you are working with a clear glass container.  You don't want to see the floral foam or wire.  Using sturdy leaves from your perennial plants is a way to provide support.  This works especially well with shallow arrangements.



Pachysandra, Hosta, a Peony leaves are especially good choices.

Curly Willow or Grape Vine

A twist of curly willow or grapevine inside a clear vase makes an interesting and organic support.
I didn't have any example photos of my own.....so I went out and found these pretty ones.  You do have to change the water often if you use this method because the willow or grape vine does "muddy" the water.


Flirty Fluers
source


I hope these ideas are some you can use when you arranging your flowers.

Have A Wonderful Day!
 


Thursday, July 12, 2018

Why You Need to Know How to install a Zipper!

The Kate Spade design aesthetic is one that I have always loved.
My heart broke when this icon lost her battle with depression.  What a tragedy.

The other day I was at HomeGoods.


I was thrilled to find this pack of 4 wonderful brightly patterned cloth napkins with her label.

Here is something Kate Spade that I can afford!!!

I knew that this cheerful pattern called "Flower Box" would make great summer pillows for the living room.

Since these pillows will be seasonal, I decided to make removable covers for existing pillows.

It is also nice that they are removable because the pattern has a bright white background that could get dirty.








I am not going to bore you with instructions on how to make a pillow cover.
You can figure out that you put the right sides of the two squares together and sew around the edge.
You need to leave an opening along one side to turn the pillow cover right side out!

THAT is where knowing how to install a zipper comes in.
A zipper closure is the absolute neatest way to close the edge of a pillow.

Yeah....I know all the excuses you are coming up with to avoid this!
  • "it's easier to just hand stitch the edge..."
    • well.... actually...a neat hand stitch closer is pretty hard to get "right".
  • "zippers are expensive....."
    • well....actually....you can buy a whole bunch of zippers for less than a bottle of inexpensive wine.


  • "I never remember how to install a zipper...it looks complicated...
    • sew4home has put together the ultimate tutorial for installing a zipper
    • plus you will learn some crazy things about the history of zippers.
    • for instance: "Interestingly, Elias Howe, the same man credited with inventing the sewing machine, received a patent in 1851 for the first zipper, which he called: "Automatic, Continuous Clothing Closure."  Can you imagine trying to tell someone to "check your automatic continous clothing closure!!!???
Hey...wait a minute....there were only 4 napkins in the package.
How did I make Three pillows?

One pillow is made with two napkins back to back.



I "cheated" on the other two and used some nice white duck fabric for the backs.
(this is a great trick if you are making pillows with super expensive fabric)





I hope this inspired you to learn how to install a zipper.
If you already know how....I hope you are inspired to go make a pillow!

https://www.123freevectors.com/free-fashion-design-brushes-zippers-stitching/



Have A Great Day!