Friday, December 26, 2014

You CAN Reuse Swiffer Wet Jet Bottles!

A few months back I bought a Swiffer Wet Jet!
I figured pushing a button and letting the solution spray out would be easier than crawling around on my hands and knees!
It was....but I really didn't like the Swiffer cleaning solution! 
I especially didn't like it because I was told it wasn't good for my newly refinished wood floors!

WHAT I really  didn't like was the fact that the bottles of Swiffer Cleaner were NOT refillable!  
Seriously.....what marketing genius this is on Swiffer's part.....the only way to save my knees....buy their expensive stuff!
Marketing genius maybe.....but I HATE when a company "holds me hostage"!
I knew that I couldn't be the only one bugged by this!
I knew that someone out there had probably figured out a solution!
Sure enough.....YOU can refill those bottles!
Here is the link to the how to I used.....pictures and everything!  http://lifehacker.com/5717409/refill-your-swifter-wet-jet-no-special-tools-required

I bet you think that this is some super sneaky trick with the need for lots of expertise!

NOT SO MUCH!

Monday, December 22, 2014

GIft Wrapping-No Muss No Fuss!

One more gift to wrap!
It feels strange to have them all wrapped BEFORE the 24th!
It must be this whole retirement thing!  Yippee!

Are you finished with your gift wrapping?

If you still have some to do....
here is a little trick that makes a lot of sense!

This technique saves wrapping paper!
This technique makes gift opening a whole lot less messy!


I use the old traditional wrapping technique for things that won't fit in a box like this....

But these plain white shirt/sweater/robe boxes get used for almost all of the gifts if there is any way to make them fit.

Yeah....I hear you saying....what's the big deal with that....everybody uses those boxes!


But here is the little secret....notice that the cover comes off?


Instead of wrapping the whole box.....I only wrap the cover!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Sweetwater Spiced Cranberry Cider Recipe!

BRRRR....yesterday was a cold, gray and foggy day!
The Sweetwater Kitchen was turned into Florist Shop for the day!
(more about that later)
You might be wondering what that has to do with Spiced Cider?

On a cold...gray....foggy morning a cup of cider certainly 
hit the spot while we worked on all those wedding flowers...

The bride does love  a cup of good strong coffee....but I thought it would be better if she didn't add too much caffeine to add to her pre-wedding jitters!

I am lucky enough to have this great Faberware Coffee Urn!
It is the perfect size....22 Cups...the perfect size for parties!

It is shiny and pretty....
It was a gift from my Mom and Dad many years ago and has seen lots and lots and lots of use!
I was going to tell you that you need to get one for yourself!
I thought maybe I would buy one for the Sweetwater Daughter and the Sweetwater Finance.....

BUT....alas they don't seem to make this one anymore..
They make a 55 cup version...but that seems to be a tad bit big!




The coffee urn was filled with
"Sweetwater Spiced Cranberry Cider" for the floral frenzy!

The "recipe" is one that I have been making for a long time...

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Christmas Read-A-Loud List!

You'd Better Watch Out!
You'd Better Not Pout!
You'd Better Not Cry!
I'm Telling You you Why!

The Sweetwater Retired Librarian  Is Blogging Today!

I've Made You A List...
I checked it twice....
These Holiday Themed Books are really Nice!

Enough with the lame Christmas Carol Parody....
 This is essentially a repost from several years ago....but the booklist is still relevant!
I have added a couple of titles that have become favorites since the original post!

On to the list of books.... Whether you are a kid or a kid at heart...
one of the best treats of the season is a cozy spot on the couch and read a loud time!


Monday, December 15, 2014

Fast And Simple Table Decor!

Dining Table Centerpieces are always a bit of a conundrum for me!

The decor needs to be something that can be on display when the table is not being used....

The decor needs to be something that doesn't get in the way when we are actually using the table for dinner....

The decor needs to be something that is long lasting....

This is my solution this year!

These hurricane glass lanterns are something that I have had around for a long time!
I had three of them.....and then one crashed to the floor this summer!
The Sweetwater Daughter to the rescue!  
She found Three at Goodwill and donated them to me!
Do the math and now I have a nice set of FIVE!

Putting them together is super simple!
The wine glass creates a pedestal to lift the votive candle.
It is clear...leaving space to add some greens and colorful accents!
(The accents I used are things from some holiday potpourri )
 Then the whole thing sits on a plate...
Making it easy to move when the center of the table is needed for dinner!
Raising the votive on the wine glass stem keeps the flame away from the greens!


Remember that I told you that my silver collection is going on a field trip this weekend?
When that happens....my dining room shelves will be pretty bare!
I want to put the lanterns on the shelves to fill the space....
but don't want to have real fire that close to the underside of the shelving!
I think I am going to get some battery powered votives for them this year...
That will solve that problem!

But.....what if you don't have lovely Hurricane Chimneys?




You probably DO have some plain glass vases.....







But if you don't....you COULD go get some at the thrift store for almost nothing!




































It would be simple to create a similar look....and the solid bottom would make this even simpler!












 So if you are looking for a quick, easy and low cost solution for a tablescape......this is one possibility!

Here are some other versions I found on line for your inspiration!


Hope you are inspired to try something like this!

Have A Wonderful Day!


Thursday, December 11, 2014

Simple and Elegant!

I was standing there in the middle of all of those boxes of Holiday Decorations!
Suddenly....I remembered this quote by Coco Chanel.
I decided that this would be my mantra for putting up the decorations around the house! 

For some reason...the idea of lots of "Stuff" all over the place was making me "itchy"!

The mantel in the family room was the first stab at simplicity!
Instead of lots of "stuff"...... just a giant wreath and some greenery!

Funny aside:  the wreath was up for our late Thanksgiving celebration...the family was sitting around in the family room....YIKES!...half of the twinkle lights on the wreath had burned out....AND it wasn't centered on the mirror! 
I noticed the Sweetwater Son looking at the mantel....I am sure that he was thinking that his Mother was losing it!  Hopefully he will notice that I FIXED it!


The bannisters in the family room and front entry are simpler this year too!
Instead of big fancy bows....these simple bows look nice and hopefully elegant!


Another funny aside:  The reason the greens and bows are on the underside of the bannisters....to avoid Mr. S complaining that he is "gonna fall and kill himself if he can't actually use the railings to walk down the steps!"

The mantel in the lower level is simple too!
Just a bit of greenery and the elk antlers!


The simple pine cone decoration hanging in the kitchen window has a clean look!

On Top of the refrigerator....I simply gave my "recipe pig" a bit of Christmas Cheer!

Now here is the "real" simplicity this year!
We are not having a giant tree!
Don't call me Scrooge.....but since the Sweetwater Kids have left the nest.....
decorating the big tree has fallen to me!
Mr. S does "other stuff" so I usually take on the tree decoratiing!
I can do it....but it is a lot of work....and with all the other decor around the house....
it seems almost extraneous!
When a friend brought this little tree top from the woods....it seemed the perfect solution for our tree this year!
I had scored this fun urn at Goodwill....waterproof and just the right size (and price $1.99)!


Down in the lower level....this simple galvanized tub is filled with greens, birch, pine cones, pomegranates and twinkle lights....it is "sort of" a Christmas tree!

The dining room will also stay simpler this year!
The big mirror just has a garland and the chandelier some greens and ornaments!
Would you believe it.....I am not even adding bows!


The shelves in the dining room are going to be a work in progress!
All my silver is "going on a field trip" this year.
One of my girlfriends is using it for her wedding reception the Friday before Christmas!
I guess "empty shelves" are the epitome of simple!
I will figure something out....but that is a project for another day!

Well....I hope all this simplicity actually looks elegant and NOT like I was being lazy!

Have a wonderful day!
 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

On Thrifting -An Essay!

source goodhousekeeping.com
At this time of year everyone seems to be focused on saving money!

The Holidays are an expensive proposition!

I was having an interesting discussion yesterday about the attitude surrounding saving money!

It got me thinking about the difference between being PARSIMONIOUS and being THRIFTY!
Are you ready for your language lesson for the day?



par·si·mo·ni·ous
adjective \ˌpär-sə-ˈmō-nē-əs\

: very unwilling to spend money
1: exhibiting or marked by parsimony; especially :  frugal to the point of stinginess
2: sparing, restrained
par·si·mo·ni·ous·ly adverb
 Synonyms
cheap, chintzy, close, closefisted, mean, mingy, miserly, niggard, niggardly, stingy, penny-pinching, penurious, pinching, pinchpenny, spare, sparing, stinting, tight, tightfisted, uncharitable, ungenerous
 YIKES!  I don't think that I want to be PARSIMONIOUS!
But.....I do want to be THRIFTY!
thrift·y

adjective
1. using money and other resources carefully and not wastefully.
Synonyms: frugal, economical, sparing, careful with money, penny-wise, provident, prudent,
Do you see the HUGE difference here?
It really is about the attitude about how you spend whatever resources you have!
Personally, I also think that it is about style!  I love beautiful things!  I love quality things.  I know that if I only shopped "retail".....I could have a FEW of those beautiful things....so I choose to be a thrifter so that I can have MORE of those things!
style

noun

1.
a manner of doing something.
Synonyms: manner, way, technique, method, methodology, approach, system, mode, form,



  Christmas Decor at Sweetwater!

Have you SEEN the prices that the retail stores are charging for centerpieces and outdoor greenery!

Beyond MY budget.....but NOT beyond what I want!

DID YOU KNOW?  Home Depot and probably other places that sell Christmas trees will let you take the greens that are cut from the bottoms of the trees....FOR FREE!

So with a little bit of planning and DYI skills...and absolutely NO $$$$....you can have lots and lots of fresh greenery for your decor!
Here are some examples from past years......



This swag was made by simply bunching the "free" greens and adding a few dried berries (Goodwill finds) and a bow!

There is no way I would invest $$$ for a swag for the window!






 Adding fresh greens to a copper bowl with a candle and some items from salvaged potpourri creates a lovely centerpiece!

Again....no $$$ just a little time and creativity!





I saw these porch decorations for sale at a nursery for $40!

They make wonderful hostess gifts.....and really only take 10 minutes to make.

Three birch logs (free from the hunting land) some pine cones, greens, and a ribbon! 

More free greens pushed into a chicken wire frame is the base for this porch light decor!  

At Sweetwater....we have FIVE front lights....can you imagine what it would cost to buy one of these for each light...

That means....without the free stuff....my poor lights would have to be NAKED for the holidays!








Back to the language lesson!
If I wanted to be PARSIMONIOUS.....I would do without....and probably feel like Mr. Scrooge before his transformation!

Instead....by being THRIFTY.....I not only have lovely things for myself....It is fun to share and create with family and friends.  
Tomorrow and Sunday I participate in  "Make and Take" Workshops where friends come together and use all this FREE and THRIFTED stuff to make their own creations!

Not to mention....when it is time to give small token gifts to friends....I can do it in STYLE for very little money but lots of thought and love!
HMMMM.....hope that gets YOU thinking of the ways that being thrifty enhances YOUR life!  I would LOVE to hear your thoughts on this subject!
Have A Wonderful Day! (and hope you get to Home Depot to get yourself some free greens!)

Link Parties
The Answer is Chocolate!  From My Front Porch to Yours  
I Am Not A Trophy Wife    Sunny Simple Life  
Between Naps on the Porch  Funky Polka Dot Giraffe   

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Simple Solution For Hanging Decor in the Window!

Putting up decorations in the big window over the kitchen sink has always been a challenge!
Flashback to last Christmas!
There I was crawling on the counter....
Stepping around the sink....
Holding up the big wreath and trying to securely wire it to the window frame!
YIKES....If Mr. S had seen me....he would have been scolding me big time!


I got it up there!!!

It stayed without falling down!!

It looked nice!


This year....I decided to use the big wreath on the mantle mirror....

But....
I wanted some kind of decor in this window!


It was time to call in the expert!!!

Mr. S of course!



Sunday, November 30, 2014

Styling a Fresh Wreath!

A happy discovery:   the nice (and cheap) the fresh wreaths from CostCo!
Oops....I probably shouldn't say how cheap they are because I often give them as gifts!
These wreaths are big and have lots of different kinds of greenery!


All those wreaths probably get to the store smashed on top of each other on the truck!
That means the greens are pretty flattened out when you buy them!
If you take just a couple of minutes to "fluff" the greens...

Saturday, November 29, 2014

It's All About The BOWS!






 I laughed when I saw this quote!


It perfectly sums up my mantra for Holiday Decorating!

I think that it really is "all about the bows, the bows, the bows!


One of my most visited posts of all time on this blog is the tutorial for making beautiful bows!

BOW TUTORIAL POST CLICK HERE TO READ IT!

I get a little nervous when I think about all those folks (like almost 5000 folks) reading the post and thinking that SWEETWATER STYLE is the expert and last word about bowmaking!

I decided to check out what other experts on bow making are saying....
Maybe there is a better way than my way?!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

An Essential Decorating Tool Kit!

Come Friday....you won't find me out shopping!
That is MY day to go into full on decorating mode!
Mr. S is wise enough to head out to the woods to hunt!
(although he does have instructions to bring back greens)

I figured I would go all Martha Stewart on you and give you a list of stuff that I consider essential to have on hand.  I don't know about you....but if I don't have the tools and supplies for my projects....they usually don't get done!

So my motto is be prepared with all those little things that make decorating, wrapping and creating simpler!


 If you haven't checked your supply closet yet....it is time to do so!
Holiday time is NOT the time to have to run out and buy stuff while you are in the middle of your projects!

This post will probably NOT be news to "seasoned" crafters and decorators....BUT hopefully it will remind you to BE PREPARED!

These are the things I consider ESSENTIAL:

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Pottery Barn Knock-Off Poinsettia Pillow Red this Time!

I made this pillow a few years ago! 

Pottery Barn sold pillows like this for more money than I was willing to spend....but you know how "thrifty" (cheap) I am!

Instead of felt for the petals....I cut up a off-white boiled wool jacket that I found at Goodwill.

The tutorial for the pillow can be found HERE,



Look at this! 

Another boiled wool jacket from Good Will!


This one is RED.....

Doesn't it just call out...."Make me into a pillow?"


Note the braided trim on the jacket....I had an AHA moment about how to use that!


The project is simple....

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree Reveal!

What a fun afternoon we had decorating the tree for the Auburn Homes Festival of Trees!
 The Sweetwater Daughter had to be scolded into just sitting......that baby is very close to arrival and we didn't want to have to be running to the hospital before the tree was done!
The Sweetwater Niece provided a lot of inspiration and some non-alcoholic bubbly and mood music!

I wanted to show you amazing photos of the whole process.....but the lighting in the room was not good....so you get what you get I guess!


Thursday, November 20, 2014

Itching to Decorate for the Holidays!

I am a firm believer in WAITING until AFTER Thanksgiving to decorate for Christmas!
It bugs the heck out of me that the stores are in full CHRISTMAS Mode!

BUT....I am itching to get started!
Then I read this blog post from Debbie over ate Debbie Dabble 



this redo her of her sled is great looking....





But....
it was the old version that caught my eye!



Hmmmm.....




I have a sled!

I have my ice skates!

I even have some hand carved antique skis that belonged to Mr. S's Grandfather!

Chances are.....I won't be sledding any time soon!
Chances are....I won't be skating any time soon!
Chances are....I won't be skiing any time soon!

That can only mean one thing....
These objects need to become Holiday Decorations!


Monday, November 17, 2014

Holiday Entertaining With A Twist!

Here is a suggestion for a fun way to entertain your friends this Holiday Season!
Why not organize a "Make and Take Holiday Decor Party"?




This will be the 4th year that the staff at school has this party!

They are "letting" me be part of it even though I have retired!

It is always a lot of fun and a great twist on the typical Holiday workplace event!




Saturday, November 15, 2014

Easy Cornucopia!

Cornucopias are the classic Thanksgiving Decor!
I have some nice wicker ones that I have purchased at the thrift store!
For inspiration....I went back to look at the posts about the ones I have made in past years!
You might be interested in seeing those!


 
I shared some tips for success with arranging as well as a little history of how Cornucopias became a Thanksgiving tradition.

This fancy smancy Cornucopia was done as a Silent Auction donation a couple of years ago!


So....I should have been inspired...Right?
Well....not so much!
This year's version is a lot simpler than usual!
Most of my fall stuff is set all around in other arrangements...
when I got ready to do the Cornucopia...I was too lazy to take them apart!
I scored a whole bunch of dried Hydrangeas from the Sweetwater Daughter's bush!
 They will be great additions to Christmas decor...
In the meantime.....

 YUP...
I just stuck them into the cornucopia...no floral foam...no nothing!
I just stuck them in and added some raffia for a little fill!
Not Bad!
Now....the question will be whether Marvin will decide to "undecorate" for me!
This took about 10 minutes from start to finish!

Lazy???
Smart???
Minimalist??
You be the judge!

Have A Great Day!
Linky Parties 


Thursday, November 13, 2014

A Funny Thrifter Story!

It is no secret that I love shopping at thrift stores!
If you want to know more and even learn some of my tips and tricks.....
check out the tab at the top about Good Will Hunting!

A funny thing happened at the Happy Hour Baby Shower on Saturday!
One of the guests was someone I didn't know....but when I complimented her on her outfit...
she told me she got most of the pieces at Good Will!
That led to a "competition" conversation about the best finds ever!
Pretty soon....this lovely young woman...an almost stranger.....
was up in my closet looking at my "best finds ever"!
We had formed a bond....
a marvelous bond sharing NOT about how lovely and expensive our possessions are....
BUT....how lovely and inexpensive they are!

So here is the Handbag edition of:
The Best Finds Ever!

One of the rules of thrift store shopping is "KNOW YOUR BRANDS"!



This little gem is a pretty obvious brand...

COACH!

I am almost certain it is authentic...it has the little coach tag....

I found a pink one like it on ebay for $35....so I would imagine that the original price was at least twice that!

I think I paid $4!



This little purse was the perfect bag to take sightseeing on our vacation.

It fits snugly under my arm....so my stuff is secure.

Just enough room for ID, phone and glasses!

PRICELESS!

BTW... this photo is of me getting ready to eat street food in Bangkok!

Notice what the humidity does to me hair :)




This is a Brahmin Bag....I have had it for 8 years.....got it for $10 at Goodwill!
I always look for distinctive tags and quality leather when I am browsing the purses at GW!

I found this bag on the Brahmin website!

Yup...you are reading it right!

$295!

My Oh My!

I used this bag as my carry-on for our trip.  It has lots of pockets inside but is big enough for the iPad and Kindle!


The last "Best Find Ever".....is one that I really didn't realize was SUCH a good deal!

When we were traveling, the thing that amazed me was the shopping in the airports.

No Kidding.....every single fancy smancy designer store was there for your shopping convenience.

When I saw the BALLY store in the Hong Kong airport....I remembered the little BALLY purse I scored a few years ago at GW for $8!

I went into the store to see if there was a similar bag for sale!
There were several bags that were close...but nothing exactly like mine!
But here is the deal....if you go to the BALLY website....there isn't a single bag that costs less than $500 .....yup.....$500 and up for any BALLY purse!

This little bag is a perfect size.....and the ensignia makes me believe it is genuine!
Even if it is the cheapest BALLY bag made....I think this might be one of my best finds!

So.....keep your eagle eyes open for bargains at the thrift store!
Since I can't come visit your closets....I would love for you to join the competition!
I want to hear about YOUR "Best Finds EVER" !

Have A Great Day!