Friday, December 30, 2016

Holiday Decor Transition

Whew!  
This holiday season seems to have flown past....
and yet it also seems like the Christmas decor has been around forever!
Was it because Thanksgiving was early this year?
Was it because we decorated the Festival Tree a whole week before Thanksgiving?


This year, I noticed that my Christmas Decor Style had changed.
I wouldn't call it minimalist....but I definitely limited the things that I used this year.

It also felt like I was sort of "organic" in the way I approached the actual decorating process.

Instead of going all out and doing every bit of decorating in one day, I spread it out over a couple of weeks.






I added a touch of Christmas to different areas each day.
AND
I only put out the things we actually LOVE!






Would you believe that there were actually boxes of decor that never made it out of the closet!

Now it is time to UNDECORATE! 

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Gift Wrapping for a Neat and Tidy Christmas Morning!!

Every year....I promise myself to get all of the holiday shopping done early!
Every year....I totally fail at actually doing it!
I know I am not alone....
otherwise why would a google search for last minute gifts get 18,000,000 hits?
Source

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Boughs, Bows and Beverage Party

Oh my, it has been even busier than usual here at Sweetwater.
Sweetwater Floral Design had the honor of creating all the floral decor for a wedding last Saturday!
Doing the flowers for a wedding is lots of fun, but oh so stressful!  
We were thrilled that the bride was happy with the results of our efforts. 
We were also thrilled that the temp last Saturday was above freezing and not the 11 degrees it was just a week later.

The events here on Friday night and Saturday morning were a lot less stressful and every bit as creative and beautiful as the wedding flower project.

Sweetwater Floral hosted what we call "Boughs-Bows-and Beverage" events.
This is a great way to gather some friends for a few hours of fun.
The best part is that everyone goes home with something beautiful.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Gnome for the Holiday! A Tutorial


 Gnomes or Tomte or Nisse.....Oh My!
Whatever name you give them, you have to admit they are awfully cute!


I guess I am a little "GNOME obsessed" this year. 

When you see how easy it is to make your own Tomten I am sure you will want to join in the fun!







Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Festival of Trees 2016

Every year the Sweetwater Daughter and I have the delightful task of creating a tree for the Auburn Homes Festival of Trees event.  We have so much fun designing something unique for this wonderful charity.  The theme this year was "A Moravian Woodland Christmas".  Here is our take on "A Walk in the Woods.
Sorry that the photo doesn't show how interesting all the elements were.....but I took the photo with my phone.  I guess I was more interested in doing the "job" than recording it.
The project comes with a hefty budget.  This is a big switch in thinking for me....to actually NOT have to think "thrifty"!

Friday, November 11, 2016

Cornucopia 2016


Source
What could be more iconic than a cornucopia at Thanksgiving?

The cornucopia (from Latin cornu copiae) or horn of plenty is a symbol of abundance and nourishment, commonly a large horn-shaped container overflowing with produce, flowers or nuts. The horn originates from classical antiquity, it has continued as a symbol in Western art, and it is particularly associated with the Thanksgiving holiday in North America. (Wikipedia)


This is the 2016 version here at Sweetwater.
I used a collection of artificial fruits and vegetables
with bittersweet, magnolia leaves and pheasant feather accents.
It is finished off with a burlap bow.



Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Texas Road Trip -Fixer Upper Fix!


A couple of weeks ago Mr. S and I took a trip to Texas.
We flew to Dallas, then drove all over the place!

I am a regular watcher of the HGTV show Fixer Upper.  It made sense to take the time to stop in Waco on our way from Dallas to Corpus Christi.  I wanted to go to Magnolia Market and see how those Silos turned out.
It was a rainy Friday morning.  There was a large crowd gathering at 10:30.  HMMM.....there didn't seem to be any dedicated parking other than some smart folks like the neighboring church who were "letting" you park for a mere $10!  Since Mr. S is less of a fan of the show....he dropped me off and went to find a spot to sit for a spell!
Let me start by saying that I am still a fan!
BUT...I left the Silo's thinking.....

Sunday, October 23, 2016

How to Clean Cast Iron

The pots and pan cupboard here at Sweetwater is really pretty basic.
We have a set of Calphalon cookware that has been around for a lot of years.
We also have some great cast iron pans that are real work horse pieces.
These have been around for even more years.


 These pans, a frying pan, a round griddle and a reversible double burner sized griddle get a fair amount of use because of their versatility.

A well-seasoned cast-iron skillet is naturally non-stick. ...

Cast iron cookware retains heat — that is, they stay hotter —

Cast iron pans can be used on the stove top as well as in the oven.

And did you know that cooking with cast iron pots and pans can boost your iron intake.


Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Burlap Ribbon Wreath


This project is so simple.
All I did was take a grapevine wreath and loop some wired burlap ribbon all around it.  I did secure it in a few places with some hot glue.  Then I tucked (stuck) some artificial leaves and berries .

I would admit that this is hardly worth blogging about.....unless I had a tip to share!
AND....

Do I have a tip for you!
That tip is about where to buy your wired ribbon on the cheap!

Sunday, October 9, 2016

How To Preserve Fall Leaves Repost


The Sweetwater Grandboy has been helping Grandpa S with some raking.
The colors are changing and the leaves are oh so beautiful.
I picked up some really colorful leaves on our walk a few days ago.
I knew I wanted to preserve them.
AND I got to work doing just that.
How? Well let me tell you by reposting the instructions from last year.
 
How to Preserve Autumn Leaves!

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Keep Artificial Pumpkins in Place Outdoors

Isn't this quote from Anne of Green Gables apropos for the second day of October?

Once October arrives, it is definitely pumpkin time.

If you want to have your pumpkins on display for the whole month, you probably need to opt for the fakes! 

Then in a couple of weeks you can buy the real thing for your Jack-O-Lantern.
  
Artificial pumpkins have come a long way.
AND
There are hundreds of ideas for making those fakes look more real.
Mostly I just do a dry brush of gray or white craft paint to soften the harsh and shiny orange.


It can be a challenge to get a natural looking arrangement when you use artificial pumpkins.
AND
Fake pumpkins are real "light weights"!  
When the wind blows....your arrangement will crumple at best and be all over the neighborhood at worst.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Use What You Have Fall Arrangement

Oh so many years ago...20 in fact....one of my favorite TV shows was The Christopher Lowell Show.
 Do any of the rest of you remember this show?

It had to be one of the first home improvement, DIY, lifestyle shows.

I loved his quirky point of view and sense of style.
HMMM....sound like anyone you know?

I would have to say that many of the things that Christopher featured on his show are things that I still do.


One of those things I remember was the suggestion to copy the look of  hotel lobby floral arrangements.  These displays tend to be done on a grand scale.

This is a photo of the lobby of the hotel we stayed at in Manila...
I couldn't find the photo of the hotel lobby in Bangkok with the boat made entirely out of orchids!
That probably isn't something I could pull off....but it was gorgeous and certainly GRAND!


This week we had our family room, hallway, entryway and kitchen painted.


That meant taking every speck of "decor" down in those areas.









This photo is from the post I did about the RULES for a mantel.
I did this in April....so you know it was time for a change.

Once I took the tall dried materials out of the vases, it was time to  go into a "Use What I Have" mode.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Preserving Cattails for Indoor Decor!




This post involves blood and gore!

What? 
This is supposed to be about preserving cattails. 
How could that involve blood and gore?


It all started when I asked Mr. S to come along to the countryside to collect some cattails.  
We do this every couple of years.  

 


It is a simple matter of climbing down the embankment and cutting the cattails before they get to "ripe" and start to puff.


 
Well.....









it would be simple enough.....

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Simple Boxed Corner Pillow Instructions

Fabric junkies know what a dangerous place a wholesale fabric store can be.


The Sweetwater Daughter and I took a trip to the fabric store with no real "need" in mind.


Of course....
what should my eye spy....?


This remnant was only $5.00 a yard and has all the right colors for our family room.





I knew it would be the perfect way to make the two Malabar chairs coordinate with the room.

Simple Boxed Corner Pillow Instructions

Fabric junkies know what a dangerous place a wholesale fabric store can be.


The Sweetwater Daughter and I took a trip to the fabric store with no real "need" in mind.


Of course....
what should my eye spy....?


This remnant was only $5.00 a yard and has all the right colors for our family room.





I knew it would be the perfect way to make the two Malabar chairs coordinate with the room.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Dropped Ceiling Panel Update

The latest project here at Sweetwater is a cosmetic update of the lower level bathroom.

This turned out to be one of those projects that reminds me of the book If You Give A Mouse a Cookie. 
If you aren't familiar with the storyline....it goes something like this...
"If you give a mouse a cookie, he's going to ask for a glass of milk.
When you give him the milk, he'll probably ask you for a straw. When he's finished, he'll ask you for a napkin.
Then he'll want to look in a mirror to make sure he doesn't have a milk mustache. When he looks in the mirror, he might notice his hair needs a trim. So he'll probably ask for a pair of nail scissors...."  and so on and so on.

The Sweetwater version goes something like this!

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Quick Flower Arranging Tip

Hurrah! The Zinnia's are in full bloom!
These garden flowers make wonderful flower arrangements.

I have been using a "ball" of chicken wire to support the stems in my Zinnia arrangements this summer.
A big roll of this stuff is great to have on hand in your supply closet.
I still love fresh floral foam to support stems, but the chicken wire is reusable, making it a thrifty choice!

Monday, August 22, 2016

Fancy Schmancy Refrigerator Art Display!

Back to School time means that your favorite kids will be bringing backpacks filled with their artistic endeavors!
Slapping that artwork up on the refrigerator is the typical way to display these treasures.
Why not elevate your typical refrigerator display so that it has  "Gallery" style?
Adding a mat to a any photo or art piece makes it seem special!




Now...if you follow my blog...you know that I do a lot of custom matting with my trusty Logan Mat Cutter!

The $200 spent on this tool was one great investment....but that is a story for another day!

So....for this project....I used it to cut an 11 x 14 mat with an opening of a little bigger than 8 x 10.
The ability to cut a custom opening for any piece of artwork is what makes having your own cutter so nice!


You can still do this without a mat cutter!
(or you could come over to Sweetwater and I will let you use mine!)

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Dawn and Vinegar Magical Cleaner



Do those Dawn dish soap commercials tug at your heart the way they do mine?






The commercials  prove what a great grease cutter and cleaner this amazing soap is!

Everyone also touts the effectiveness of vinegar as a cleaning agent.

It only makes sense that if you put the two together they would work even better.

So after reading about this a couple of months ago....I decided to try it.

I imagine that many of you are sitting there saying "what took her so long to discover this?"
Who knows....but I do know that this stuff is truly magical....

The recipe is simple: 

Friday, August 5, 2016

Vacation Memories Art Project

We just got back from a trip to Voyageur's National Park.
What fun....and yes...I actually caught a fish or two!
In fact...I was voted "most improved" fisherman in our group.
That wasn't hard considering that on the first day I couldn't even make my reel work!














I never did get over the gag reflex about the whole sticking the worm on the hook deal!

Of course we took bunches and bunches of photos.
It is so easy to take too many pictures....and then it is so hard to figure out what to do with them.

This article from the Washington Post has some great suggestions for organizing and "doing something" with those photos.  These tips are definitely on my to do list!

I am not much for scrapbooking....so I also enjoyed this article about NON-scrapbooking ways to remember your vacation.

This quick craft is a way to turn a scenic photo into canvas art at home.

What you need:
a scenic vacation photo
photo editing software or APP
canvas "paper" for your printer purchased or DIY (directions here)
frame (no glass)
fabric covered mat (tutorial follows)

One of our favorite places in Manzanillo, Mexico is Playa la Audencia.
The Waterlogue App for iPad is free.
This app makes it easy to create a watercolor effect with any photo.


This photo turned watercolor is a wonderful memory of our favorite spot.

Somehow...the original went "missing" in all of the zillions of Mexican vacation photos.....

This is one from the same day to give you an idea of the scene.

If you look closely in the watercolor version, you will see Mr. S in his classic "kicked back" position!  

Don't you think it adds an even more personal touch to the image?




Then it is a simple matter of printing the water color image on canvas.
Here are the directions for DIY printing on fabric.

I removed the glass from a frame I had.
I decided that a fabric covered mat would look nicer than plain mat board.

The finished project is a nice addition to the beach themed table in the entry way.
Adding the "caption" makes this a wonderful vacation memory.

I am in the process of doing one from our fishing trip.
I have the frame with the mat done  
Here is the tutorial for covering a mat with fabric.




Start with a plain mat cut to size.




 Use an adhesive spray to attach the fabric.












 Press the fabric smoothly on the mat.










 Cut an x from corner to corner.











Fold the sections back and press well.

I use mounting tissue to attach them to the back.
You can just use tape.








The burlap looks nice...but those frayed corners will need a little attention with some glue.










Insert the mat into the frame and you have a nice fabric mat that looks good without glass.








Now it is just a matter of figuring out which scenic photo to use for my water color technique.

HMMMM....





Now wasn't that a sneaky way to make you look at our vacation pictures?

Have a Wonderful Day!