Friday, May 27, 2016

How To Save $$ on Patio Planters!

Have you SEEN the cost of already planted patio planters at the nursery or Farmer's Market?
There are at least eight big patio planters here that need plants!
Even at $25 a pop....that would be a budget breaker for me!

Here is my lower cost solution for big good looking planters!
I use perennials for accent plants.
all those plants that need dividing in the big gardens find a temporary home in the planters!

Instead of a $5 accent spike.....a Day Lily can do the trick.
Instead of an expensive trailing plant....Sedum fills the bill.
Two Geraniums....a deal at Home depot for $1.49 each...
A couple of Dusty Miller plants from a six pack that cost $3.33...
A little ceramic bird and some Spanish Moss...
Total Cost:  Less than FIVE DOLLARS!

The area under the front window is a work in progress.
After the landscaping project we did last summer....
we are trying to decide what to plant there.
In the meantime....we plopped down this old bench and a couple of planters.
These planters got a similar "found" plants as fill.
There is a great big patch of Zebra Grass in the garden.....this makes a great "SPIKE" for NO COST!

Grand total cost for all the planters in the front of the house!



Now...I know that they aren't as "fancy" as the already planted ones....but I can live with that for a savings of at least $80!

Now let's head to the back yard fire pit!
The stone wall has four big planters.

The cost for these is the $7 each for the Purple Fountain Grass.

The fill plants are Sedum.

The Birch logs/pillars are some that are used over and over again.

Mr. S giggles (well not really....if you know Mr S., he is really not a giggler...) But he DID laugh when he saw that the nursery charges four dollars each for birch accents.

I may find some annuals on sale and add them later....but for now these will do!

The accent plant for this little Carnation is a $2 Lemon Grass plant from the Farmer's Market...

This photo shows how nice the Zebra Grass does as an accent.

I did buy some Asparagus Fern and another trailing plant that I can't remember the name of!

So this is my most SPENDY planter!

But the copper wash tub planting was TOTALLY FREE!

This has Ornamental Onion, Bee Balm, and Campanula along with a tiny bit of Artemisia.

I planted this long before it was safe to plant it has had green color for at least a month!

When you head to the Garden Store or Farmer's Market this weekend.....walk right on past those expensive accent plants.
Spend your money on the flowers and then head to your own garden to scavenge up some freebies!

Have a Great Day!

Friday, May 20, 2016

Spring Painting Projects

I never knew that I could emulate Pablo Picasso.

In fact....I am JUST LIKE Pablo Picasso! the quote!

I paint things not as I see them....but how I think them!

I have always envied artist who can paint pictures.
Alas....that is not a talent that I will ever have.

BUT....give me a can of Spray Paint and a beautiful sunny day....and I can make things look the way I think them.

I have been really busy painting STUFF around Sweetwater!

So what have I painted?

The metal patio set that sits under the deck.  I end up doing a cover coat every year.  The set started out white, then it was black, then green and now it is hammered bronze.  I suppose you could argue that we have had 4 sets of furniture.

I don't know about you....but I would rather have spent the $20 on spray paint to get what "I think" the furniture should look like!

The Baker's Rack on the front steps is a similar case.
This piece is getting to be close to an fact we bought it before we had the Sweetwater daughter and more than 35 years.
It moved outside a couple of years ago and the original white surface was painted hammered bronze.  This year.....what I was "thinking" was RED!  And now it is red.  Those red pots on the steps started as bargain plastic green....then they were blue and now they are red!
I really need to work on staging this area.....but that is for when I stop painting!

This next painting project wasn't done with spray paint.
In fact it was one of those risk taking projects.
The pair of lamps in the living room needed to be replaced.....not because they don't work....but because I was not in love with the dark color they were.  Before I sent them back to their original HOME...(Good Will)..I thought I would try a little painting update! 

I masked off the cord and the harp.
I used some watered down beige paint and painted the whole surface.  Then I let lots of drips run down the lamp.  I played a little with the surface until I was happy with the look.
Once the paint was dry....I coated it with a spray of clear high gloss.
I kinda like least well enough to wait for better lamps at Good Will!

I imagine that I can find a few more things to give some spray paint love to....but you know....

I have noticed that lately, when Mr. S sees me with a can of Spray Paint...he hustles away just as fast as his new knee will let him!  HMMM...maybe he is afraid I will do a little Spring touch-up on him!!!

What is the craziest thing you have ever painted?
Would love to hear your stories!

Have A Great Day!

Link Parties
Stone Cottage Adventures  
Funky Polka Dot Giraffe

Monday, May 9, 2016

Reupholstery: Should You or Shouldn't You?

We have a nice little chair here that originally came from the thrift store.
It is a nice size.  It fits into small spaces.
It is reasonably comfortable for an occasional chair.
It has a caned back which made it simple to just make a new cushion cover to fit with the decor.
(Would you believe this is the best photo of the chair I could find in my archives?)

Alas....Marvin has decided that the caned back of the chair is a terrific scratching post!!!
Remind me again why we love our pets!? 

 I knew that having the chair recaned not worth it for a thrift store chair.

Or more to the reupholster or not? wouldn't make much of a story if I simply told you that I decided NOT to do it!
 So here is what and how the project unfolded....
It will be up to you to decide if it was worth it!!! 

When I saw this fabric, I knew it was perfect for our house.

The rust color will work in the family room.

The gray is nice for the den.

The camel is the exact color of the living room couch.

Remember....this is an OCCASIONAL chair!  That means it will "occasionally" be in any of these rooms depending on the OCCASION!

It was important that this fabric had a nice strength to it.
I knew I would be pulling and tugging a lot during the project.

The first step was to cut templates of the back sections of the chair on both the front and the back.

Then pieces of quilt batting were cut and glued to each section.

(YUP that is just the regular glue gun!)

The pattern was used to cut fabric pieces for the sections.
I decided that the sections needed to have self-fabric welting.

Here is a great explanation/tutorial for the process of making your own welting.

Apartment Therapy How to Make Your Own Welting

I actually HATE making this stuff....but it really takes a project to the professional looking level!

I did the two side sections first.

It was super tricky to get the staples into the "ditch" between the welt and fabric.

I used very few staples....then added a few dots of glue for stability.

I realized that I would be doing some hand stitching at the end...more about that later!

 The center back section overlaps the two sides.  After attaching the top of the fabric to the chair, I used a curved needle to hand stitch the welting on to the side pieces.

Then lots of staples to attach the bottom of the fabric to the chair.
I cut a piece of fabric for the bottom of the seat.  The front edge was stapled and folded in. Then used staples all around the back.

For the back was just tuck and glue gun!
Not fancy...but it worked!

The cushion got recovered with more self welting.

I know that I should have used a zipper....but I didn't have one...and I didn't want to go to the store....

I just left an opening in the back and hand stitched it closed. isn't fancy...but it works!

So....this project took me more than a few hours....
I am lucky to have a space to leave the mess for extended time....
It was picky, icky work and not always fun...
There were times when I really considered throwing in the towel because it wasn't working the way I wanted....
BUT....the results are nice enough!

Would I do this again?
Probably NOT!
The cost of the investment of fabric and cording was around $60.
My time and frustration.....priceless?
There are really nice inexpensive occasional chairs out there that would cost out to be less costly in terms of time spent....

But Hey!
It is done now....
and Marvin is happy!

 I would love to hear your vote on this and remember.....

Have a Great Day!
Link Parties
The Dedicated House 
Homesteading Hippie  

Saturday, April 30, 2016

How To: Mantle Decor

 Did you know that there are RULES for decorating a mantle?
Yeah....who knew?
I have been decorating my mantle for years....and never knew that there are rules I should be following!!!!

I know this because?
I ran across this blog post from THRIFTY CHICK DECOR

so I went back in the blogging time machine to see how my past mantles have followed the rules I didn't know I was supposed to follow!

It was enlightening!

I especially noticed how less than marvelous the photos are!

I really am trying to improve my photography!!!

But back to the subject at hand!

This display sort of follows the rules...but in hindsight perhaps the two cypress trees could have been on one side and the birch branches on the other with the logs in the center for fill.


This one doesn't break too many rules....but there should probably be a taller anchor on the left. about bad lighting decisions!

This display pretty much follows the rules except the "fill" should probably be grouped more tightly!

Fast forward to the present!

Last week I found this bag of potpourri on sale at Home Goods.  It has lots of beachy items that I know will work in a variety of summer decor.

I also bought these tall grasses and reeds.

I got out my favorite tall Haeger vases and got to work following the rules!

The results are nice!
I especially like the height of the side anchors!

So....will I ALWAYS follow the rules?
Probably not!
Remember what Katherine Hepburn said:

Have A Great Day!

Link Parties

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

The Ultimate Teacher Appreciation! know I can't just sit around blogging all day!
So...I do some other stuff too!
I have the privilege of serving on the St. Louis Park Public School Foundation Board.
The foundation is dedicated to enhancing learning for the students in St. Louis Park.

There are a variety of fundraising efforts that make granting money to teachers possible.
One of the programs we sponsor is "Gratitude Greetings".  Parents/students can donate to the foundation and send a personalized message of thanks to the staff who make such a difference in our schools.  I know personally how touching it is to receive a heartfelt message from a student or parent.  It really does have a greater impact than another personalized coffee mug!

But talk about teacher appreciation!
The man in the photo below is Thomas Friedman.
He is a three-time Pulitzer Prize winning journalist.

Mr. Friedman has interviewed presidents, kings and unemployed street youth with
equal grace and insight. If you are ever lucky enough to interview him, he’ll tell you he
received his formal journalism training from St. Louis Park teacher Hattie Steinberg.
"Hattie was the legendary journalism teacher at St. Louis Park High School, Room 313.
I took her Intro to journalism course in 10th grade, back in 1969, and have never
needed, or taken, another course in journalism since."

Talk about teacher appreciation!

Mr. Friedman has generously agreed to come to St. Louis Park in order to raise support, awareness and funds for the St. Louis Park Public Schools Foundation   These are the details of that event.

 Tom Friedman: Growing Up in St. Louis Park​ 
Saturday, May 21, 2016 at 10:00 a.m.
St. Louis Park High School, St. Louis Park, MN 
 “Writing for the New York Times but Always Looking for Minnesota
"As someone who had the benefit of a Park High education, and also sent his own girls to public school, I know well how valuable a quality public school system can be. Our public schools are the backbone of our country. They bring together the fireman's daughter with the businessman's son, children of all races, creeds and colors. And the best of these schools forge these different strands into communities. St. Louis Park Schools were among the best. To invest in such public institutions is an honor and an obligation." - Thomas Friedman
For more information about the event or to purchase tickets, visit the SLPPSF  website.
 Have you checked to see if the school district your students attend has a similar foundation?
Have A Wonderful Day and Thank A Teacher Today!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Almost No Sew Removable Ottoman Cover

It's time for Part Two of the Kate Spade inspired mini-redo of the guest bedroom.
Yesterday was all about pink polka dots! is all about green and white stripes!

 You have to admit that these two prints are iconically Kate Spade!

This is the green and white fabric that I found for accents in the room.
I did want a little brighter green more like the color on the Kate Spade bag....

BUT....when you find something this close to the inspiration and it only costs $.90 a yard...
YES...$.90 a yard...
There was really no question about the purchase!

I liked the idea of an upholstered ottoman to sit in front of the love seat!
This little bench turned ottoman is the perfect size!

It was a piano bench that was a thrift store find.

I painted the base white and added some padding before covering it with fabric that coordinated with the decor in another room.

Now it will be perfect with the new green stripes.

I wanted to keep the project simple and also make the new cover removable.  It is important to have the cover washable....just in case!

The old upholstery was stapled to the bottom of the ottoman.

The new cover will really be a slipcover.

I started by cutting a generous piece of fabric that goes about 6 inches down from the top.

This will leave enough fabric to turn up as a hem.

I placed the fabric wrong side up on the ottoman.

Then I pinned a mitered on each of the  four corners.

These mitered corners got stitched.

The stripes in the fabric made it easy to get a nice straight seam.

Once the stitching was done, I checked for fit.

Then it was just a simple matter of pinning up the bottom for a simple hem.

I decided to use iron on fusible stitch witchery hem tape to secure the hem.
I didn't want any stitches to show and was afraid that even hand stitching might show.

The finished project!
And if by chance some little Grandboy gets it comes off and can be washed!

This slipcover technique is one I used for the large ottoman in the living room.
This ottoman is one that we put our feet up on and I don't have to worry about it getting dirty!  

I am still working on some other fun Kate Spade details for the mini-redo of the bedroom.


I have more pink polka dots, more green striped fabric and some fun golden dot stickers.
 HMMMMMM......I can't wait to show you the details!

Have a Great Day!

Link Here to see the first installment of the mini-makeover.