Wednesday, November 30, 2011

My Holiday Laundry Room!


I am always so envious of people who have big "stand alone" laundry rooms....
In our house...the laundry room is the back entry pass through from the garage!
And....
The only thing "stand alone" about it is.....ME standing ALONE doing the LAUNDRY!

So in true "Sweetwater Style"...what do I do?
Decorate....! Especially at Christmas!
If I have to spend time "standing alone" in there, it might as well look festive!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Let the Decorating BEGIN....in the rooms you use the most!

My goal in decorating for Christmas is totally "Sweetwater Style"...
  • Use what you've got!
  • Re-use and rearrange!
  • Try not to buy anything new!
If you consider that my decoration closet is FULL FULL FULL of stuff that I have been collecting for years.....then I have spent less than $20 on decorating so far....some scented pine cones and some ribbon from Costco!

I usually do the Holiday decorating in one big day....the Friday after Thanksgiving!
I pull out all the boxes....make a huge mess and clean it up!
Not this year....

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanks Giving! Simplify Your Shopping!

Thanksgiving is here!
The turkey is ready to go in the oven.....
Our family will gather soon!
Black Friday is tomorrow....and I WON'T be out there!
Why?

We have a wonderful tradition in our family that simplifies gift giving....

The adult brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews know what they want and they buy it...so finding the right gift is always a challenge!
But....giving gifts is fun and sharing is what the season is about!

Sooo....a couple of years ago we decided that our extended family would Adopt a Family (actually 2 families)through our county outreach program!
Now....we still get to shop and buy and give...
In November we receive the names and ages of the kids and adults in the families.  

There are 2 "gift requests/suggestions" for each child.  The adults indicate preferred store for a gift certificate!

Imagine....somebody else makes the list!!!!

Everybody picks the gifts they want to buy.....
The people from far away send checks....no shipping required!

 We tuck in lots of little stocking stuffers....
I still get to wrap gifts....and use some pretty bows!


 



We haul the "Santa Sacks" off to the drop-off on December 15th....

Happily Done!

I cannot tell you how this has "de-stressed" the whole shopping craziness....to actually know what to buy....
and...
best of all, know that the gifts are needed and will be well appreciated!

Now....the only shopping we need to do is for immediate family members!

Now THAT is Sweetwater Style!




Saturday, November 19, 2011

Taking another Bow! Tutorial that is!

I made a Costco run this week....

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


During every major holiday season they have beautiful wired ribbon at ridiculously cheap prices.
How cheap? $6.99 for 50 yards!
And the patterns are amazing....not always Holiday themed either!

While I was buying mine, I saw a couple buying every spool of one design....they told me it was for their wedding! Very patient groom taking the whole display apart to get enough spools!




These are the ones that caught my eye this year.


I haven't used bright colors for a few years....
I am lovin' the plaid...
oh....and polka dots..... and that green really pops!
Here is a tutorial to show you how to make some pretty and easy bows!




I went down to the ribbon stash!
Dug around and found other Costco Ribbons....







I must really love you my bloggy friends, because I am risking having Mr. Sweetwater see how much ribbon I have!
"Really dear...I will use it all someday!"







 People who know me, know that I put bows on everything...


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 a pre-made bow like this for a mere $8.50....or go wild and buy 12 for $102.00!

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 have put some links to bow making tutorials at the end of the post....






but now you get to see my lame attempt to show you how....
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!  NOW1  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 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
Bowmaking...with yardage chart

 I love to hear from YOU!
What is your favorite thing to buy at CostCo?



Related Posts from ME!

Bows Bows Bows
Thrifty Bath Soak Recipe
TIme Saving Gift Wrap Tips

Folded Gift Bag Tutorial




Read On to see the Link PartyList

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Tricks for Arranging a Cornucopia



  I don't really do all that much specifically themed Thanksgiving decorating. I just sort of take the obvious Halloween stuff down and leave the fall looking stuff around.


BUT.....
 The Horn of Plenty or Cornucopia is almost as iconic an image as the turkey at Thanksgiving.

I have always loved the idea of having this as the centerpiece for the table!
Look at these lovely examples:





I could never figure out how to get mine to look like this without everything tumbling out whenever I needed to move it for one reason or another!
Finally, I figured it out!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Margarita Liqueur Maybe!


 "If life gives you limes....make Margaritas!"


One of my favorite Blog Reads is Karen over at The Art of Doing Stuff.
I love the way her voice comes through in her posts, making you laugh out loud while you are all by yourself in front of your computer!
If you haven't visited her blog, do so immediately...and then come back over to Sweetwater!
What does this have to do with Margarita Liqueur?
Thought you'd never ask....
I thought I would try to "channel" Karen in this post...wish me luck....or at least keep reading!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Bows Bows Bows

You've seen these bags of bows everywhere
They are truly inexpensive! 
But hardly "Sweetwater Style"!
I like these a lot better!
I challenge you to read this tutorial and do way better....and maybe even cheaper!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Get Ready To WRAP! Time Saving Tips!


Paper and tape and ribbons....oh my!
It is time to get ready to WRAP!


In less than a month...
You WILL be wrapping all those Holiday gifts!


Take a moment to read what is essentially a repost from this summer!

I re-read it and realized how timely it was....so even though it doesn't sound like a holiday tip post....use your imagination...you are clever people!
It was a good reminder to ME.....
to get going and follow my own advice!
Enjoy!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Goodwill Hunting-oops I mean Gathering!

Men Hunt

Poor Bambi was at the mercy of my hubby this past weekend....
That always makes me kind of sad....
So what to do?
Go Gathering!
I spent the good part of Saturday shopping (gathering) with my daughter.
We started at the Mall...some errands and a lot of moaning about the outrageous prices of everything!
We finished at Goodwill.....where we made a haul!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

How to Miter Perfect Corners-Sew Easy!


I am on "project strike" today.....yeah I know I got a whole extra hour of sleep.....
and what did I do with it?
Nothin'
Nada'
Zilch....




I did NOT upholster the 2 library chairs waiting in the lower level!I did NOT do the laundry!
I did NOT think about how much has to get done next week!
I did NOT hem the 2 pair of pants that are waiting!
I did NOT mat and frame the print I am doing for a friend...even though it has been a month since he brought it to me!
I did NOT mat and frame the new art we bought at the Memphis Art Fair...even though I really want it on the wall!
I JUST DIDN'T WANNA!

I went shopping.....not for anything I need....just shopping!

I read a book....nothing uplifting...a Lisa Scottoline Crime novel....just reading!

I took a Nap....turned on the fire, curled up under my wonderful new throw and slept for that whole hour that was "free"!
It was a wonderful, relaxing day!

I did putter around in my craft space....and other people's blogs.....dreaming up NEW projects!
WHEW!
Were you getting worried about me?
So a post has to be something other than me having a "project strike".....so here goes...

HOW TO MITER PERFECT CORNERS....read on

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Almost No Sew Cozy Throws!

"My blanket... I can't be without it!" a quote from Linus Van Pelt

I don't carry my blanket around with me....I suppose that would cause some interesting comments....
but every couch on Sweetwater has one!

My latest is a wonderful faux fur throw with suede backing.

My inspirations were all the beautiful throws in the catalogs....like this one that costs $169.


I wanted one!
I needed one!
I didn't want to spring big bucks for one!
So I didn't "throw" in the towel (get it?)
I made one for $35
Read on for the "rest of the story"

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Am I crazy or what? My latest Project!


Imagine the school library where I spend an awful lot of my time from Sept. to June....
oh you don't have to imagine...it looks something like this!
The color and layout of the space are really nice!

Well I guess "Sweetwater Style" extends to my work environment too!
I am constantly rearranging the furniture....decorating the tables....hanging up art!
My mission is to create a warm and inviting place for learners (adult and student) can spend time!
Sort of "if you decorate it ....they will come!"
And given the state of school funding....this all has to happen on a less than minimal budget!

Do you see the blue chairs in the foreground of the photo?
Well there are 20 of them....and I decided to recover them....

So now you understand the title of this post!
Read on to see the plan....I have 2 done and have 18 to go!