Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Use What You've Got Fall Planters


October's the month
When the smallest breeze
Gives us a shower
Of autumn leaves.
Bonfires and pumpkins,
Leaves sailing down —
October is red
And golden and brown.
~Author Unknown

This Fall, the weather in Minnesota has been sort of strange.....days in early October that felt more like summer....followed by freezes each night for several days.  That meant that the flowers were still blooming longer than usual and then....poof....they were gone!

Last Sunday I decided it was time to change out the flower pots and boxes.....but since it is already the end of October....I didn't want to spend any money!

So if you are like me and have procrastinated about your outdoor decor....take a look, maybe my  "cheap" solution will inspire you.

The box of artificial fall foliage was sitting in the middle of the craft room floor, but I didn't want the "totally fake" look that they would have....

I convinced Mr. S to take a break from his yard work.....and help me cut some branches from the Oak tree in the back...

Here is the NO COST result!

Just the addition of some "REAL" leaves makes the artificial leaves less "Fake Looking"! I couldn't bring myself to rip out the plants that are still hanging on to they are staying until they actually die!

The planters on the front steps got the same treatment.....along with some of the cattails I we picked and preserved earlier in the season.

Finally....a couple of artificial pumpkins (the big ones actually will get turned around tomorrow night and plugged in....they are Jack-o-Lanterns!!)

So with an hour or so of work (play) and absolutely NO MONEY.....the Fall Decor at Sweetwater is done!!! 

Have A Wonderful Halloween!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

V is for Pumpkins!

"Q is for Duck An Alphabet Guessing Game" is a great book to get kids thinking "outside the box"!

It is pretty obvious why Q is for Duck.....because a duck Quacks of course!

After you read this book to your child....don't be surprised if you are inundated with all the other possible alphabet guessing ideas your kid thinks up!

 So..... Are you wondering WHY the title of this post is "V is for Pumpkins"?
Well.....because Velvet makes the prettiest pumpkins!

This year I made a couple of really large brown velvet pumpkins.....
The smaller ones in the photo are made from silk...and they are pretty too!



I did a Pinterest Search for Velvet Pumpkins and found some amazing examples that other folks have made....  CLICK HERE TO SEE LOTS MORE  VELVET PUMPKINS 

How to make Velvet Pumpkins!

I am sending you to this post that Trina Holden did with a super tutorial for making these. 
Her instructions  are way better than any I could write!

Her technique is pretty close to what I did to make mine!

I think the collection of fabric pumpkins on the hearth looks really nice!

 I took a close-up shot of the mantle....because for once it feels like I got the proportions right!  It is simple but interesting.....and considering that everything is DYI or from Goodwill it was also CHEAP....I mean THRIFTY!!!

I guess I will spend the rest of the day outside clearing out the planters on the front steps and front entry!  We have been hit with some pretty hard freezes this no more flowers to pick!

Have A Great Day!  And don't forget to save your pumpkin stems for next year!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Ghosts of Halloween Past!

Halloween is coming....Halloween is coming!
and here at Sweetwater....we have been too busy traveling to do much decorating!

I will share about our fun trip to the "City of New Orleans" on the train of the same name in a couple of days....

but for now I thought I would revisit some of the Halloween posts and tutorials from the past!

 I guess you could call these "Ghost Posts" of Halloween's Past (sorry Mr. Dickens :)  )

From silly to spooky...reading Halloween tales is a great way to get in the spirit of Halloween!  Here are some of the books I will be reading to kids in the next couple of weeks.  HALLOWEEN READ-A-LOUD list.

 Check out my quick directions for making these "witchy" looking Halloween books....

You still have time...the total investment is  the cost of the cardboard books and a little paint!


 Somebody pinned this post about my trick for making pumpkins last.....and it has been getting so many hits...I figured I needed to link that on this redux post!

Tip to Make Pumpkins Last until Thanksgiving!

 Just a few artificial stems and the hot glue gun add a bit of elegance to  this plastic pumpkin....see how I did this in this "Ghost Post"!

Touches of Fall Post

This printable is actually not from me but is available at Sweetly Scrapped to download for free....

I found it on an old post and it reminds me that I should probably get myself busy and print some for ME!!!

Speaking of printables....these cute little plaques were super simple to create...

Check out the tutorial for them here....

  This arrangement of old bottles on a silver tray or mirror is a simple touch....

I did a post a couple years ago about "Halloween Decor....Empty Nester style" talking about scaled down decor now that we don't have little ghosts and goblins hanging out around here....

Halloween Decor for Empty Nesters...

There you have it....some "Ghost Posts"...and actually.....reading these makes me think I will do a bit of decorating around here.....that is when I get the bags unpacked and the laundry done!

Have A Great Day!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Christmas Tree For Charity!

The Sweetwater Daughter was invited to take part in a Festival of Trees!

And LUCKY ME....she invited me to help!

This is how it works!

Each design team gets a 7 foot, pre-lit artificial tree......

Each design team chooses a theme......

There is a $400 dollar budget....yeah you read that right....FOUR HUNDRED DOLLARS!

Everything is prepared ahead of time.....

The design team goes the day before to assemble the tree in time for the auction gala the next night!

The trees are then placed in Nursing Homes and other public places for the season, collected after the holidays and stored until the following year, when they are displayed again!

We have a theme....

We have a plan....

The Mitten Tree inspired by the Jan Brett book!

In this charming book, a little boy loses his white woolen mitten!
Lot of forest creatures take refuge from the cold inside the mitten!

We have been buying white wool sweaters from Goodwill.....

Each sweater costs in the range of five dollars....and usually there is material for 4 or 5 mittens.

The mittens will become a garland....attached to rope for a rustic look!


Jan Brett makes her art available on her website  JAN BRETT WEBSITE!


We plan to make ornaments using the faces of all of the animals decoupaged to wood slices.

Then we will add some big plaid bows and some pine cones.....

What do you bet we can create a pretty awesome tree for less than $200?
And that is only because we will have a copy of the book as part of the display!
Then the money we DON'T spend can go back into the charity!!!

The tree skirt is optional....and we haven't decided about that....

Doesn't this sound like fun!!!??
I would love to hear your suggestions for the skirt or any other clever idea that would add to our theme!

I will post more about this as our project progresses!!!

Have A Great Day!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Halloween Pillow-Computer Print on Fabric

There is something so classically spooky about the Edgar Allan Poe poem "The Raven"

This great image which has the script of the poem and a properly witchy raven just had to become a pillow.

  • I printed out the image on fabric (see the tutorial link below)
  • I used some black ribbon for trim around the print
  • I made the pillow out of burlap
  • I added a big black bow

I used the  freezer paper, fabric, ink-jet printer method that is detailed here by the "Graphic Fairy".

It is really simple.....
  1. just cut a piece of fabric exactly the size of an 8 1/2 x 11 piece of paper and iron it to a piece of freezer paper.  
  2. I fold over the edge of the freezer paper to make a clean edge to go in the printer.
  3. Then just print whatever image you want on your ink jet printer!
  4. Peel the fabric from the freezer paper....and go to town!

I messed up when I printed the first time....see how the bird is cut off a bit on the side?

I had this black tote bag with an ugly advertising image on it.....with the same ribbon trim....the "less than perfect" raven print became....the perfect little birthday gift for a literature loving friend!

Have A Great Day!

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Sunday, October 6, 2013

TIme To Reline the Kitchen Shelves!

The kitchen shelf and drawer liners at Sweetwater are in desparate need a replacement.

A couple of years ago, I showed you how I line the drawers and shelves with pre-pasted wallpaper that I pick up for next to nothing at Goodwill!

The problem is that I CANNOT find any good looking wallpaper at Goodwill now that I actually NEED some!

What to do?

 I figured there must be some sort of discount wallpaper available on-line!
In fact I found Steve's Blinds and Wallpaper on line....and then saw that they were on my list of affiliate companies!

Steve's has a section of discontinued bargain papers.....$7.98 a roll!
That seems reasonable...although I had to buy 2 for $16 dollars I can do my whole kitchen twice!!!

I started shopping....and seemed to be drawn to the plaids....

Here were the options that called to me!

Almost a Burberry.....

Lots of colors and the blurred lines are nice.....

This one has the look of Pendleton woolens...but is probably a bit too "Christmassy"!

And the Winner IS!!!!

This one has the right colors and is dark enough not to show scuffs!

Want to see something funny?
This photo is of little old (young) me in the kitchen of our first house! you wonder why I was drawn to the plaid....

Maybe even more of something to think you wonder why my wallpaper choice was in the "discontinued bin"? all I have to do is wait for the UPS guy to bring me my wallpaper and then everytime I open the cupboards....I can travel down memory lane!

Steves Blinds and Wallpaper

Have A Great Day!

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