Thursday, November 29, 2018

Holiday Decor Series: Bows Bows and More Bows!

I have been on a pretty long blogging break.
Yikes....I haven't posted since Halloween and now we are deep into the Holiday Season!
I don't have any real good excuse for this....I am sort of rethinking and want to revamp the blog.
I guess that will be my project for the new year.
In the meantime.....
wikipedia.com
I will share some of my old favorite Holiday Decor on a Budget posts from years past.
So with a nod to Charles Dickens I present for you...
NOT the of GHOSTS of Christmas Past.....These are POSTS of Christmas Past!


Let's start with those BOWS...because it really is all about those BOWS!



I pretty much put a bow on EVERYTHING....and knowing the tricks to making these lovelies will save you money and add a bit of "class" to your decor.

Tooo funny....I was looking for pictures of pretty bows to add to this post and I found this site:
christmastreewreaths
You can buy a pre-made bow like this for a mere $6.75....or go wild and buy 12 for $72.00!

It always amazes me that people really buy stuff like that....go figure!











Here is mine using the Costco ribbon!

Now....you do the math!
$8.00 for 50 yards of ribbon.....2 yards per bow.....hmmmmmm!










I love Costco for lots of things....but I REALLY love their wire edged ribbon!

cochaser.com

 $7.99 for 50 yards of beautiful wired ribbon!
Beautiful ribbons....and with 50 yards there are no worries about running out.

It takes a long time to use up 50 yards of ribbon so my "stash" is growing.

We use these ribbons for our annual Boughs, Bows and Beverages events here at Sweetwater....so it is really a good investment (says the woman trying to rationalize her ribbon fetish)!

Read about Boughs, Bows and Beverages here.

There are lots of places to get ribbon.....and lots of sales this time of year.

It is also a great idea to save your bows from year to year.




It is now time to get your BOW on!
There are some links to bow making tutorials at the end of the post....written by actual posters who excel at writing tutorials.

Here is my poor attempt to show you how I make a pretty....professional looking bow.
Warning:  holding the ribbon, the wire, and taking pictures.....now THAT was a trick!




Start by cutting a piece of florist wire about 12 inches long....

If you don't have any paddle wire like this...GET SOME!  NOW!  You will use it and use it and use it!






Leave the ribbon attached to the spool and pull out about a yard.....

If you cut now...you might not have enough for a pretty bow....and besides...if you mess up...
just let go and start again!










Make a loop that is half the size of the bow you want....

pinch it tight....











flip over and make a loop on the other side that is the same size

pinch that tight










Keep going back and forth....
loop, pinch, loop, pinch





This bow has 5 loops on one side and 6 loops on the other.....


I read somewhere that you should always have an odd number of loops....but who's counting? Oh...ME!





Now take the piece of wire and wrap it around the center....whew!  You can let go of the loops now and hold on to the wire.











Twist the ribbon...NOT the wire....around about 3 times to get an nice tight center.










NOW....you can cut the bow away from the spool!



Then start pulling the loops up and twisting them into a pretty shaped bow.

The wire in the center lets you have at it without worrying that the bow will come apart.

The wire edge of the ribbon lets you shape the loops.
There you have it! 

 Here are the other links I found with much more professional tutorials....take a look!

Better Homes and Gardens Video Tutorial
Directions for lots of fancy bows
Michael's Tutorial

Good Luck!

Have a Wonderful Day!



Thursday, October 18, 2018

How to Make a SCARY Fairy Garden!

We have been traveling for a week or so.....
It seemed too soon to decorate for Halloween before we left, but now it is only 2 weeks away.
I don't do a lot of crazy Halloween decor any more.  We never were the people who filled the yard with gravestones and ghosts.
I do like to do a few things that pay homage to the season.


This is one of my favorites!
I love fairy gardens.....and this one can be enjoyed in the warm comfort of indoors!

AND....almost every component is a thrift store find.





You can create your own "Scary Fairy Garden" or "Ghostly Gnome Home".
These are the components:
  • A large box or basket- this is a wine box/tray that I found at Goodwill.  The aisle with baskets and wood always have great things for good prices.
  • Ceramic houses that are usually in the Christmas decor section at the thrift store.  I painted them with craft paint to look spooky.
  • Small pumpkins are always available at the dollar store.
  • Little ceramic ghosts can be sourced at the thrift store.  You probably have some in your holiday stash.
  • The stone "courtyard" is a piece of tile on mesh that we found at the tile store. A little moss tucked in is a nice addition.
  • The "tree" is some curly willow that is tied together.  A branch from the yard would work well.
  • I added some battery powered twinkle lights wound around the branches.


Easy....
Simple....
Inexpensive....
Just my Sweetwater Style!





Happy Haunting!





















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!